Arizona abortion ban: Kamala Harris blames Trump

  • By Holly Honderich
  • in Washington

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Democrats are working to tie strict abortion bans to Donald Trump

Vice-President Kamala Harris lambasted Donald Trump over abortion restrictions as she held a campaign rally in Tucson, Arizona on Friday.

The state was pushed to the front of the US abortion battle this week after the state’s Supreme Court upheld a 1864 law banning almost all abortions.

“Donald Trump did this,” Ms Harris said.

Her remarks added to recent attacks from the Biden campaign tying Mr Trump to abortion bans nationwide.

Mr Trump campaigned in 2016 on appointing justices who would overturn Roe v Wade. He put three conservatives on the court, all of whom voted to overturn Roe in June 2022 and rescinded the nationwide right to abortion.

“We all must understand who is to blame,” Ms Harris said on Friday. “Donald Trump is the architect of this healthcare crisis.”

She claimed that “a second Trump term would be even worse… he will sign a national abortion ban.”

A spokesman for the Trump campaign denied supporting a national ban, saying he “could not have been more clear. These are decisions for people of each state to make”.

Arizona’s 160-year-old law has given Ms Harris and her fellow Democrats another chance to focus their 2024 election efforts on abortion, a strategy that has proven effective in local and state races.

Mr Trump has sought to distance himself from Arizona’s ban, calling on state politicians to repeal the law.

Speaking from his West Palm Beach residence on Friday afternoon, Mr Trump said the 1864 law was “going to be changed by the government”.

But he also took credit for “breaking” Roe. “We did something that nobody thought was possible, we gave it back to the states, and the states are working very brilliantly,” he said.

“It’s working the way it’s supposed to,” he said.

Kari Lake, the presumptive Republican nominee for an open Arizona Senate seat and a close ally of Mr Trump, has also publicly renounced the law, and on Thursday called the ban “out of line” with state voters.

Ms Lake previously praised the ban, calling it a “great law”.

It is still unclear when and how the 1864 ban will be enforced.

The Arizona Supreme Court put the ruling on hold for at least 14 days while a lower court considered added arguments about the law’s constitutionality.

The state’s Democrat attorney general, Kris Mayes, has said she would not prosecute anyone performing or obtaining abortions. Initial attempts by Democrats to repeal the law in the state legislature were thwarted by senior Republicans.

Arizona’s voters may also have a chance to reverse the law themselves with a likely ballot initiative that, if passed in November, would protect abortion rights until 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Pro-choice activists in the state say they have already met the signature threshold required to put the question to voters this autumn.

Video caption, Hear from Arizonans on both sides of the abortion debate

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