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Kamala Harris to tie Trump to Arizonas strict new abortion ban during campaign visit

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(TUCSON, Ariz.) — Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Tucson, Arizona, for a campaign event on Friday — three days after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a near-total ban on abortion in the state, a ruling celebrated by abortion opponents but lambasted by Democrats and abortion rights supporters, who contend women will die from the policy.

Harris is expected to place blame for the court decision squarely upon former President Donald Trump for allowing abortion bans like Arizona’s, calling him “the architect of this healthcare crisis” because of his role in the overruling of Roe v. Wade’s nationwide abortion guarantee.

Arizona Democratic Senate candidate Ruben Gallego, Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and others will join Harris on Friday, along with the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff.

“Here in Arizona, they have turned the clock back more than a century on women’s rights and freedoms,” Harris plans to say, warning that “here’s what a second Trump term looks like: more bans, more suffering, less freedom. But we are not going to let that happen.”

That echoes what she said last month in Phoenix: “The former president, Donald Trump, handpicked three members of the United States Supreme Court because he intended for them to overturn Roe. He intended for them to take your freedoms, and he brags about it.”

Trump this week criticized Arizona’s strict restriction, saying he feels it goes too far, while also touting the end of Roe and saying abortion must now be decided by the people of each state.

“It needs to be straightened out, and I’m sure that the governor and everybody else will bring it back into reason and that will be taken care of,” he said.

Harris and the Biden reelection campaign have seized on the issue in the early phases of the general election fight against Trump.

The vice president on Friday may also offer criticism of Republican state lawmakers who blocked a push this week to repeal the 19th-century ban, adjourning until next week instead, with legislative leaders saying they need more time to hear from constituents and weigh next steps.

Under the 160-year-old law predating Arizona’s statehood, the only exception permitted is to save the life of the mother, and doctors could face punishment of up to five years in prison for aiding with an abortion.

Republican leaders in the politically important battleground state, many of whom praised the U.S. Supreme Court decision against Roe two years ago, have softened their rhetoric on abortion this week.

Senate candidate Kari Lake, as well as House Reps. David Schweikert and Juan Ciscomani, all criticized the state Supreme Court’s decision Tuesday. All three face competitive elections in November.

If the Arizona Legislature doesn’t pass a new law dismantling the 1864 ban, voters could still see abortion rights on the ballot come November.

Organizers at Arizona for Abortion Access say they’ve already exceeded the necessary signature threshold for a ballot initiative that would, if approved by voters, enshrine abortion rights in the state’s constitution. But advocates say that they’ll continue to gather every signature possible until the state’s July 3 filing deadline.

The Biden-Harris campaign praised that coalition in a new campaign memo on Thursday, in which senior adviser Jen Cox called it “one most ambitious operations our state has ever seen.”

“Donald Trump is responsible for the state of reproductive freedom in Arizona today,” Cox wrote. “Arizona women know it, and it’s why a broad coalition of Democrats, independents, and moderate Republicans will stand together to defeat him in November – just like they did in 2020.”

“Abortion has always been a central issue at the heart of the 2024 race in Arizona, now it’s more politically potent than ever,” she added.

Biden’s 2020 win in Arizona was the most narrow of his battleground victories over Trump.

His reelection campaign launched a media blitz in Arizona on Thursday, hitting Trump’s record on abortion as part of a seven-figure ad buy, seizing on the issue they see as galvanizing to wide swaths of the electorate — while Trump has been hammering Biden over high inflation, immigration and more.

“Your body and your decisions belong to you, not the government, not Donald Trump,” Biden said in a new ad the campaign said will target young, female and Latino voters on broadcast and digital platforms. “I will fight like hell to get your freedom back.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Harris’ visit is not part of her “reproductive freedoms” tour.

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