Berliner Tageblatt - Abortion in America: Democrats take gloves off as Harris hits Arizona

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Abortion in America: Democrats take gloves off as Harris hits Arizona
Abortion in America: Democrats take gloves off as Harris hits Arizona / Photo: © AFP/File

Abortion in America: Democrats take gloves off as Harris hits Arizona

Democrats were set to hammer Donald Trump on the divisive issue of abortion Friday, calling him the "architect" of a US healthcare crisis, as the party sees an opening with voters ahead of the November presidential election.

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Vice President Kamala Harris was due to campaign in the battleground of Arizona just days after that southwestern state's conservative supreme court rolled back reproductive rights to the Civil War era, saying an 1864 ban on abortion was valid.

The ruling, which rendered almost all pregnancy terminations illegal with no exceptions for rape or incest, made Arizona the latest state to severely limit the procedure.

It came after the US Supreme Court -- with a conservative majority thanks to three Trump appointments -- in 2022 overturned Roe v Wade, the decades-old federal guarantee of abortion rights.

"We all must understand who is to blame," Harris was expected to say at a campaign event in Tucson.

"It is Donald Trump who, during his campaign in 2016, said women should be punished for seeking an abortion," she was to say.

"Donald Trump is the architect of this health-care crisis. And that’s not a fact he hides. In fact, he brags about it."

- Election battleground -

While a clear majority of Americans support abortion rights, many Republicans -- particularly religious conservatives -- see banning it across the United States as a top priority.

Since the US Supreme Court ruling in 2022, bans or tough restrictions have come into force in a number of conservative states.

But when the issue has been on the ballot, voters have sided with the right to choose -- even in typically "red" states like Kansas.

Democrats see the issue as a vote winner and are seeking to tie Trump, the de facto Republican Party presidential nominee, to the bans.

In the wake of the Arizona court ruling this week, the party is splashing a huge sum of money on an advertising campaign in the must-win state -- aimed at key Democratic target groups: young people, women and Latino voters.

They hope that this will help drive turnout and support for President Joe Biden in the November 5 election, even as many polls show the 81-year-old trailing his populist predecessor.

"If Donald Trump gets the chance, he will sign a national abortion ban," Harris will say in Tucson on Friday, according to Politico.

"How do we know? Look at his record. Congress tried to pass a national abortion ban before, in 2017, and then-President Trump endorsed it."

Meanwhile, Trump has sought to thread the needle, boasting to evangelicals of his role in overturning Roe v Wade, while lamenting that Arizona's ruling has gone "too far."

He took to capital letters on Friday to urge a law change in the state.

"The Governor and the Arizona Legislature must use HEART, COMMON SENSE, and ACT IMMEDIATELY, to remedy what has happened," he wrote on his social network Truth Social.

"Remember, it is now up to the States and the Good Will of those that represent THE PEOPLE. We must ideally have the three Exceptions for Rape, Incest, and Life of the Mother."

The message, which gave no indication of his preferred time limit on abortion, repeated untrue claims that his Democrat opponents encourage the execution of babies.