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Kamala Harris Pushes Abortion Rights in Michigan, With Gaza Anger as Backdrop

Vice President Kamala Harris has emerged as a leading Democratic defender of abortion rights, a potent campaign issue for her party, and on Thursday she brought her message to Michigan before the state’s presidential primary next week — her third trip so far this year to a battleground state to talk about abortion.

During a stop in Grand Rapids, Ms. Harris assailed Republicans who support a national abortion ban as “extremists,” and said state bans that do not contain exceptions for sexual assault or incest were “immoral.”

“People have been suffering and we must be explicit about what that is, because this is not a hypothetical point,” Ms. Harris said at a round-table event at the Fountain Street Church, a progressive house of worship with Black Lives Matter and rainbow flags hanging outside its entrance. “Women have been having miscarriages in toilets in our country, have been denied access to emergency care because of what has been happening.”

But the gathering, which was closed to the public, also reflected the challenges facing President Biden and Ms. Harris in a difficult re-election year. It featured a group of just nine participants in addition to Ms. Harris, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Senator Debbie Stabenow, both Biden allies.

Quiet as it was, the event showed how Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris are trying to keep voters’ focus on a far more comfortable subject for Democrats than the one hanging over Michigan’s primary on Tuesday: the Israel-Gaza war.

The state’s large population of Arab Americans, as well as its progressive voters, have expressed deep anger at Mr. Biden over his support for Israel. Its bombardment and invasion of Gaza after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas, which killed 1,200 people, have led to a death toll nearing 30,000 Palestinians, according to local authorities.

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