Harris Attacks Arizona Abortion Rights: 'Trump Did It'


Tucson, Arizona
CNN

Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday lashed out at Donald Trump over abortion rights in Arizona and across the country.

In the wake of the Arizona Supreme Court ruling that banned abortion in nearly all cases, Harris traveled to Arizona to rally voters who see the November election as a referendum on women's rights, one of the key issues of the Biden campaign in the upcoming election. The vice president has become a vocal campaigner on abortion rights and announced a trip to Tucson shortly after Tuesday's ruling.

The decision, which revived a 160-year-old law banning all abortions except when necessary to save a pregnant woman's life, “proved the upside once and for all. Ro It's the opening act of a larger strategy to restrict abortion access in the United States, Harris said. The ruling, he said, was an “inflection point” in the fight over abortion rights.

“We all need to understand who is to blame,” he said. “Former President Donald Trump did this.”

The vice president's comments came minutes after Trump held a news conference with House Speaker Mike Johnson at his Mar-a-Lago resort, during which the former president said he was “broken. Roe v. Wade” and said government control over abortion bans “is working as it is supposed to.”

In Tucson, Harris laid out the stakes of the upcoming election in stark terms: “This fight is about freedom.”

Harris has been traveling the country as part of her reproductive rights tour since January, arguing that abortion rights are balanced with election results. Last month, Harris visited a Planned Parenthood clinic in Minnesota, becoming the first vice president or president to visit an abortion provider.

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Calling Roe's reversal in 2022 an “earthquake event,” Harris described the Arizona ban as “one of the biggest setbacks.”

Democrats have seized on abortion ahead of November, seeing it as a key political issue that could turn moderate voters — especially women — against Trump by directly tying abortion bans to him.

Both Biden and Harris have repeatedly campaigned on Trump's boast that he engineered a conservative supermajority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade — which has federally protected abortion rights for nearly half a century — in 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization Conclusion

A second Trump term, Harris said, would result in “more obstacles, more suffering and less freedom.”

“He basically wants to take America back to the 1800s, like he did in Arizona,” Harris said. “But we're not going to let that happen,” he added.

“We're not going back,” she said.

The Biden campaign is seeking to build momentum in battleground Arizona following Tuesday's ruling, kicking off seven-figure ad buys on the issue as Republicans argue it's a “no-step.”

In a new 30-second ad, “Power Pack,” President Joe Biden blames his predecessor. Another ad launched earlier this week with the story of a woman affected by Texas' abortion ban will see the campaign spend seven figures on that ad.

Harris' group focuses on reproductive rights, an area it believes the vice president is uniquely positioned to lead. The issue came to a head for the vice president in 2021, when he held a roundtable on reproductive rights.

Half of registered voters in the United States say this year's elections will have a “major impact” on access to abortion, and 1 in 8 voters say abortion is the most important issue driving their vote, according to a KFF survey.

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The issue has rallied moderate and liberal voters in midterm elections — drawing more and more Democratic victories on ballots across the country.

“This is going to be a major issue,” one Democratic strategist told CNN, arguing that the Arizona court ruling served as another data point to bolster the party's argument. “It provides a key data point to counter the Republican talking points that we're serious.”

The Biden campaign is repeatedly working to run the message that “Trump is responsible for the state of reproductive freedom in Arizona today.” As Trump works to thread a political needle on the issue, the campaign will connect him directly to policies.

Both Trump and GOP Arizona Senate candidate Gary Lake issued statements opposing the Arizona Supreme Court decision. Trump said Wednesday that he would not sign a national abortion ban if he were to become president — his stance on abortion has been unpopular for decades.

Harris said Friday that he doubts Trump's sincerity after he said at Mar-a-Lago that he would not sign a national abortion ban if re-elected in November.

“Enough of the gaslighting,” she said.

This headline and story was updated Friday with additional developments.

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