Harris, Democrats aim at Trump on abortion ruling anniversary

VP Kamala Harris said Trump was "guilty" of taking away reproductive rights from women.

People protest in the district of Republican State Representative Matt Gress after Arizona's Supreme Court revived a law dating back to 1864 that bans abortion in virtually all instances, in Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S. April 14, 2024. / REUTERS/Rebecca Noble/File Photo

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland (Reuters) -President Joe Biden's campaign used the second anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision overturning abortion rights on June 24 to spotlight Donald Trump's role in the ruling, as Democrats zero in on the issue ahead of November's election.

Vice President Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor, said Trump was "guilty" of taking away reproductive rights from women. First Lady Jill Biden and other Democrats also speaking on June 24 hope to mobilize volunteers and voters around protecting the patchwork remains of abortion access in the country.

"Donald Trump is the sole person responsible for this nightmare," Biden said in a statement. He said the reversal two years ago of the landmark Roe v Wade ruling of 1973, which gave constitutional protection to abortion rights, has been "devastating."

"This is a fight for freedom: the fundamental freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body and not having her government tell her what to do," Harris said at a campaign event in Maryland.

Trump appointed three conservative Supreme Court justices during his 2017-21 presidency, leading to a change in the Court's balance that sparked the 5-4 abortion ruling in 2022.

Harris called the plan to overturn Roe v Wade "premeditated" and achieved with the help of "accomplices." "In the case of the stealing of reproductive freedom from the women of America, Donald Trump is guilty," she said.

Since the 2022 ruling, more than 20 Republican-led states have imposed restrictions, while the unpopularity of the decision even in some conservative states made it a political liability for Republicans during mid-term elections in 2022.

Abortion access is now almost non-existent in Southern states, forcing tens of thousands of women to cross state lines for abortions, and sparking a rise in medication abortion.

 Biden's team believes the issue could swing the tight Nov. 5 election his way. He will focus on getting a law passed that restores the rights of Roe v Wade if re-elected, White House gender policy council chair Jennifer Klein told reporters Monday.

Trump said in April that abortion laws should be set by individual U.S. states, stepping away from a national abortion ban that anti-abortion groups and some parts of his Republican Party have pushed for.

On June 22, Trump addressed a crowd of evangelical voters at the Faith & Freedom Coalition in Washington. "We have also achieved what the pro-life movement fought to get for 49 years, and we've gotten abortion out of the federal government and back to the states," he said.

Some Republican lawmakers have introduced a resolution in the U.S. Congress celebrating the 2022 ruling, although it is unlikely to be voted on in a Senate controlled by Democrats.

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Movement, said some Democratic-led states have "tragically" allowed for abortion services for women from other states.

"The blue (Democratic) states would not only continue the bloodshed, they would also accelerate the onslaught," she said.


Jill Biden travels to Pittsburgh and to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a city Trump won by 15 points in the 2020 election, when he lost the presidency to Biden. Harris is also heading to swing state Arizona on Monday. Both have competitive Senate races in November.

Keisha Lance-Bottoms, former senior advisor to the Biden administration and former Atlanta mayor compared this year's election focus on abortion rights to the civil rights era fight for voting rights. "This year, it's about access to our bodies,” she said.

Women's rights groups are planning "women's strikes" in dozens of U.S. cities on June 24 to mark the anniversary, urging women not to go to work or spend money, and to wear red and protest instead.

On the other side of the divide, anti-abortion activists traveled to Washington over the weekend to celebrate the Supreme Court decision.

Four years ago, Biden rarely mentioned abortion rights in his election campaign, fearing the issue could alienate moderate voters.

Now it is a key pillar of his re-election bid.

Biden and Trump remain tied in national polls with less than five months to go before the election, while Trump has the edge in the battleground states that will decide it, polls conducted after Trump's felony convictions show.

On economic issues like inflation, Trump scores higher with voters overall than Biden.

But polls and the results of state ballot initiatives have shown that a large majority of voters reject strict abortion bans.

Biden and Trump will debate on June 27, for the first time this election campaign cycle. Biden, who is at Camp David preparing for the debate, will not campaign on Monday.









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