Vice President Kamala Harris to Criticize Donald Trump’s Role in Arizona’s Abortion Ban

Vice President Kamala Harris will explicitly blame Donald Trump for Arizona’s recently upheld abortion ban in a speech on Friday, saying the former president is responsible for this issue that is expected to dominate the state’s elections this fall.

In her remarks in Tucson, Harris will condemn what she perceives as an attack on women’s rights and frame Arizona’s abortion ban as a direct consequence of Trump-era policies and rhetoric, according to excerpts of her speech released by the Biden campaign. “Here’s what a second Trump term looks like: more bans, more suffering, less freedom,” she will say. “But we are not going to let that happen.”

Harris’ trip to Arizona comes just four days after the state supreme court decided to bring back a 160-year-old near total ban on abortion, thrusting the critical swing state into the forefront of the battle for reproductive rights in an election year. Political strategists in both parties believe the ruling will likely sway even moderate Republicans towards the Democratic camp, while also energizing young voters.

The Biden campaign has used the ruling to intensify its efforts to attack Republicans and blame Trump, who regularly takes credit for appointing the three U.S. Supreme Court justices who helped overturn Roe nearly two years ago. In her speech, Harris plans to paint Trump as “the architect of this health care crisis” and point to his previous comments about how women who seek abortions should be punished, the excerpts say, marking one of her most direct assaults on Trump’s stance on abortion to date.

Harris has in recent months become increasingly vocal about the Biden Administration’s support for protecting reproductive rights and combating the erosion of women’s health care access across the nation, signaling how abortion has become a pivotal issue in the upcoming presidential election. Her trip to Arizona follows a series of nationwide engagements centered on reproductive rights, including stops in swing states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Georgia.

The fight over reproductive rights has in recent years become one of the most potent issues in motivating Democrats to vote—and polls show that abortion could similarly motivate Arizona voters this fall. A poll from before the state Supreme Court’s ruling found that 39% of Arizona voters said abortion would be extremely important in deciding their vote for president, and 32% said it would be very important. In a poll from last year, 59% of Arizona registered voters said abortion should be mostly or always legal; 34% said it should be mostly or always illegal. The ruling this week is likely to make the issue even more significant to voters in the state.

Trump’s stance has shifted ahead of the 2024 election. He said on Wednesday that the Arizona supreme court went too far in its ruling, and earlier this week, instead saying on Monday that decisions regarding abortion should be left to individual states. As President, he backed a 20-week federal abortion ban, which never passed Congress.

“This abortion initiative is going to drive a lot of young voters to the polls,” says Barrett Marson, an Arizona-based Republican strategist. “The Biden campaign [is]… going to have to say, look, come for the abortion initiative, stay for us. They’ve got to make sure voters don’t just vote on abortion and then go home.”

A campaign official said the Biden campaign plans to ramp up its abortion messaging in Arizona ahead of the election, unveiling a seven-figure investment ahead of Harris’s visit that includes advertising initiatives aimed at bolstering support for abortion rights.