From Florida to Arizona, Abortion Politics Dominate the 2024 Race

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In Florida, a ban on most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy took effect.

In Arizona, state lawmakers moved to repeal a stringent abortion ban that dates to the Civil War era.

And across the country, the presidential campaign trail on Wednesday was brimming with reminders of just how central Democrats hope the abortion rights debate will be to voters’ decisions this fall.

Nearly two years after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Democrats are betting that the tangible effects of abortion restrictions that many Americans are already experiencing — and the threats of more to come — will help their party power through an ominous and volatile political environment, as Republicans struggle to address an issue that has become a significant, sustained liability for them.

“Donald Trump is to blame for the harm state abortion bans are doing to women every day in our country,” Vice President Kamala Harris wrote on social media on Wednesday morning, as she prepared to speak in Jacksonville, Fla., about the state’s “extreme” new ban.

As they did in the midterm elections in 2022, Democrats are borrowing from language long favored by Republicans — about freedom and limiting the reach of government — to make their case.

They believe that Mr. Trump, whose Supreme Court nominees helped overturn Roe, recently bolstered their argument further.

In a Time magazine interview released on Tuesday, Mr. Trump refused to commit to vetoing a national abortion ban and said he would allow states to monitor women’s pregnancies and prosecute those who violated abortion restrictions.

“There seems to be no limit to how invasive Trump would let the state be,” President Biden said in a video released on Wednesday morning. “This should be a decision between a woman and her doctor, and the government should get out of people’s lives.”

The focus on abortion rights propelled Democrats in the midterm elections, when candidates harnessed voter anger over abortion restrictions to overcome challenging national headwinds in key contests.

And it has remained a potent force in subsequent elections.

But it is not yet clear how galvanizing the issue will be in a presidential election shaped by economic concerns at home and crises abroad, with two well-known and unpopular men at the top of their party’s tickets.

And even as Democrats sought to keep the issue at the forefront of voters’ minds on Wednesday, they were competing with unrest at college campuses across the country, including in critical battleground states, as students protested the war in Gaza, with many objecting to Mr. Biden’s support for Israel.

Such scenes of turmoil, some party strategists have warned, can be damaging for the party that controls the White House.



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