Harris criticizes neighboring Arizona for implementing ‘Trump abortion bans’

Vice President Kamala Harris took the stage in Las Vegas on Monday, passionately advocating for a ballot measure that aims to protect abortion access by including it in the Nevada Constitution. This event comes as President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign highlights Harris as a prominent advocate for abortion rights. Recognizing the significance of this issue, the campaign aims to mobilize voters from all sides of the political spectrum in preparation for a fiercely contested general election.

In her late afternoon remarks, Harris reiterated her criticism of former President Donald Trump, holding him responsible for the diverse restrictions across the United States. She referred to these restrictions as “Trump abortion bans.”

During a gathering with organizers and supporters, Harris emphasized the clear connection between the experiences witnessed in states like Arizona, the ongoing efforts of the people in Nevada, and the previous administration.

According to her, it is important to remember that Donald Trump explicitly stated his plan to appoint three Supreme Court justices who would overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade. And true to his word, they carried out his intentions.

Trump frequently touts his contribution in bringing an end to Roe v. Wade, primarily by appointing conservative justices to the Supreme Court. However, he maintains his belief that the issue of abortion should be left to individual states to decide, rather than being governed by national laws. He also supports the inclusion of exceptions for cases involving rape, incest, and situations where the life of the pregnant woman is at risk.

He has voiced his criticism of some of the stricter bans, like the one in Arizona, stating that it is necessary for local lawmakers to address them.

According to a report by ABC News in February, Trump is now trying to downplay his previous support for a national ban on abortion, something he has discussed in private. Harris, in Nevada, calls this gaslighting and argues that if given the chance and re-elected, Trump would sign an abortion ban if Republicans in Congress support it.

“We refuse to tolerate this any longer. It is absolutely unacceptable, and we are ready to mobilize. We will hit the streets, knock on doors, send text messages, and ensure that everyone understands their power to safeguard the rights of our nation’s citizens,” she declared.

On Monday, the vice president continued her “reproductive freedoms” campaign with another event, following her recent trip to Tucson, Arizona. This visit comes after the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a 19th-century law that prohibits all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Doctors who provide abortion care could face criminal penalties under this law. Although the ban is currently on hold, it is expected to be enforced in the coming weeks.

Vice President Harris invited Arizona State Sen. Eva Burch to join her in discussing the abortion landscape in Arizona. Sen. Burch, who courageously shared her own abortion story on the state Senate floor, spoke about her personal experience with a wanted pregnancy.

Advocates argue that if access to abortion in Arizona becomes severely restricted, the state could become an “abortion desert.” In such a scenario, neighboring Nevada, where abortion is currently legal up to 24 weeks, may emerge as a viable alternative for individuals seeking reproductive healthcare.

On Monday, the Biden-Harris campaign staff and volunteers actively participated in assisting with the collection of signatures for Nevada’s ballot measure. This measure is designed to safeguard and enhance access to abortion services.

Voters in both red and blue states have rallied behind similar initiatives, showing their unwavering support for abortion access.

Under the proposed text of the Nevada ballot measure, access to abortion would be protected by being included in the state constitution until the point of fetal viability, which typically occurs at around 24 weeks of pregnancy. After fetal viability, the state would have the authority to regulate abortion, but only if a healthcare provider deems it necessary.

In order to get the effort on the ballot in Nevada, a minimum of 102,000 valid signatures is required by June 26. Additionally, at least 25,000 signatures must come from each of Nevada’s four congressional districts.

Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom, the group collecting signatures, has not yet announced whether they have achieved their goal in all districts. However, they have already gathered over 150,000 signatures and are optimistic that the momentum will continue to grow as Harris lends her support to the cause on Monday.

During her speech in Tucson on Friday, the vice president made reference to President Trump a total of 17 times. She went on to label abortion bans in 20 different states as “Trump abortion bans.” According to a campaign official, this signifies a new phase in her campaign.

Trump has changed his stance on the issue, as seen in his recent announcement. He has suggested that the decision regarding abortion should be left to individual states. In addition, he believes that this perspective will divert Democrats’ attention away from the topic.

When questioned by ABC News’ Rachel Scott on Friday, Trump declined to provide further details on his change of stance. It is worth noting that during his presidency, he had previously made a commitment to sign a national abortion ban.

“We successfully overturned Roe v. Wade, accomplishing something that was deemed impossible. We returned the decision-making power to the states, and they have been handling it effectively. Some states have taken a conservative approach, while others have opted for different strategies. It is functioning exactly as intended,” Trump declared confidently.

Democrats have capitalized on Trump’s shift in tone as part of their broader emphasis on abortion while on the campaign trail. Trump frequently criticizes Biden for issues such as high inflation and immigration.

According to the official, Harris has organized over 80 events that are centered around abortion rights since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe in 2022. However, last week marked the first campaign event led by Harris that specifically focused on abortion rights, with more similar events planned for the future.

In Tucson, she expressed her belief that the state court’s decision to uphold the ban from the 19th century “clearly establishes that the repeal of Roe was only the beginning.”

“These actions are merely the beginning of a larger strategy aimed at undermining women’s rights and freedoms. It is a deliberate and systematic assault on reproductive freedom, being carried out state by state,” she asserted. “It is important for us to acknowledge the responsible party: former President Donald Trump.”

‘Mad as well’: Hundreds rally for abortion access in nearby battleground

Abortion remains a contentious issue in the realm of Arizona politics.

On a sunny Sunday in Scottsdale, over 500 individuals gathered at a bustling intersection for two hours. Their purpose was to rally support for a ballot initiative that seeks to protect and uphold abortion rights in the state’s constitution, mirroring the efforts seen in Nevada. This initiative is set to be presented to the public in November, aiming to ensure the safeguarding of women’s reproductive rights.

Supporters from different generations filled the sidewalks of Camelback and Scottsdale Roads, brandishing vibrant signs. Their presence transformed Old Town Scottsdale into a lively hub of honking horns and enthusiastic support. Amidst the lively atmosphere, cheers and chants echoed through the air, proclaiming, “This is what democracy looks like.”

“This P.F. Chang’s is currently buzzing with frustrated individuals – and rightfully so,” expressed Hannah Tighe, 35, while standing on the bustling commercial strip.

Tighe described the crowd as diverse, consisting of families, older women, and women who had brought signs from previous protests. She expressed a mix of emotions, finding it both “awful” and “beautiful”.

Tighe expressed her strong emotions of anger, shock, and embarrassment in response to the recent decision by the state Supreme Court to uphold the pre-statehood abortion ban in Arizona.

Living in Arizona now is truly embarrassing, given the state’s reputation for safety. It’s concerning for my friends from other states, as they worry about the well-being of women here.

Abortion opponents rejoiced at the reinstated ban, with one proclaiming that “the compassion of the pro-life movement won in court.” On the other hand, supporters of abortion access made their voices heard, expressing their dissent. Interestingly, some prominent state Republicans, who had previously identified as “100% pro-life,” followed in Trump’s footsteps and voiced their disagreement with the ruling.

Laura Levine, a 65-year-old attendee of the Scottsdale rally on Sunday, expressed her frustration and anger towards both the decision and the state Legislature for their failure to promptly address the issue last week. Levine, who attended the rally with her two adult daughters in mind, emphasized her disappointment.

“I went through an abortion a while back after being sexually assaulted in a snowy parking lot around Christmas. It was a traumatic experience, and I don’t want my daughters to ever go through something similar. It’s disheartening to see our country moving in the wrong direction when it comes to reproductive rights,” she expressed.

“It’s not something that can be left up to the states,” she emphasized. “Just take a look at what the states are currently doing.”

Love expressed her disappointment that it took until 2024 for the Supreme Court to finally uphold a ban that was put in place back in 1864. Speaking at the rally, with blaring horns in the background, Love emphasized that people are now more motivated and determined than ever. She acknowledged that there may have been individuals who were previously on the sidelines, but they have now joined the cause.

According to Love, the organizers have already exceeded the state’s required signature threshold to support the inclusion of the measure on the ballot. However, the coalition will continue to gather as many signatures as possible until the July 3 deadline to maximize their chances of successfully getting on the ballot.

“We will continue collecting signatures until we can’t go any further,” Love said confidently.

Paula Medina, a 25-year-old, has added her name to the petition for the ballot initiative and intends to show her support for it in November. However, she remains undecided about voting for President Joe Biden, who is running alongside Harris in their efforts to reinstate the safeguards of Roe. Medina acknowledges the hurdles that this vote may encounter in Congress.

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