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Kamala Harris: 'Women are getting pregnant every day in America, and this is a real issue'

Ron Sachs/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a push for federal legislation that would protect abortion rights, Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to suggest that women getting pregnant in America is a problem only abortion can solve.

"Listen, women are getting pregnant every day in America, and this is a real issue," Harris said during an interview with podcast host Brian Tyler Cohen that was published Sunday.

Harris was attempting to argue that Congress needs to codify a federal right to abortion to nullify state restrictions on abortion that went into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The vice president said lawmakers "need to act with a sense of haste about what is at play, what is at stake."

She added that "codifying Roe" will put protections back in place for "the folks who are at risk right now" of getting pregnant.

The Republican Party's communications team had a field day with her gaffe, which made it sound like she opposes pregnancy.

The GOP also put Harris on blast for misinforming Cohen's audience about Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits K-3 educators from instructing children about sexual orientation or gender identity, restricting classroom discussion on those topics to what is developmentally or age-appropriate in higher grades.

Harris, like other Democratic activists before her, incorrectly referred to the legislation as the "Don't Say Gay" law. She also claimed that by preventing teachers from discussing their sex lives with children ages 5 to 8, the law somehow prevents them from being able "to love openly."

“These are issues that impact young people because, as we all know, your right to vote and the action of voting unlocks all the other rights, including same-sex marriage,” the vice president told Cohen. "Including whether we are going to stand up against a law that says ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ basically restricting kindergarten through third-grade teachers in Florida to be able to love openly and teach what they believe is important for people to understand.”

The text of Florida's parental rights law states: "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and vigorous defender of the parental rights law, questioned why the vice president wants teachers to be talking about their personal lives with children.

"Love whoever you want. But regardless of gay or straight, why do you need to 'love openly' at work when you work with children????" she tweeted.

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