Updated Apr 12, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Harris on Trump's abortion stance: "Enough with the gaslighting"

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on reproductive freedom Friday in Arizona. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris attacked former President Trump's abortion record during a visit to Arizona Friday, calling him the "architect of this health care crisis" as she cast post-Roe America at risk of reverting to the 1800s.

Why it matters: The Biden campaign is eager to drive Democratic voter turnout in the key swing state after its Supreme Court's decision this week to uphold a restrictive Civil War-era abortion ban, with exceptions only to save the mother's life.

  • “This is 2024, not the 1800s. And we're not going back," Harris said during a fiery speech in Tucson, met with cheers from the audience.
  • The VP said Trump "wants us to believe he will not sign a national ban. Enough with the gaslighting."
  • She detailed the wide-ranging effects of the loss of the federal constitutional right to abortion on women in the U.S., including on miscarriage care.

Zoom in: "We all must understand who is to blame — former President Donald Trump did this," Harris said.

  • "Here's what a second Trump term looks like: more bans, more suffering and less freedom," added Harris, whose trip was planned prior to the Arizona ruling.

Trump reiterated earlier Friday during an appearance at Mar-a-Lago with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) that he wouldn't support a national abortion ban if he was re-elected.

  • "We don't need it any longer," he said, "because we broke Roe v. Wade."
  • Trump said earlier this week that abortion laws should be left to the states.

Between the lines: The former president and presumptive GOP presidential nominee — who has criticized Arizona's near-total ban — regularly takes credit for the Supreme Court's 2022 reversal of Roe v. Wade.

Reality check: The blanket abortion prohibition in Arizona may only be temporary. Advocates are collecting signatures to refer an abortion rights measure to the November 2024 ballot.

  • The ruling is on hold temporarily, which could allow time for new legal challenges.

The big picture: Arizona, a crucial swing state, is ground zero for the high-stakes issues driving the 2024 campaign: abortion and immigration, Axios' Stef Kight and Stephen Neukam reported this week.

  • It's also home to a competitive Senate race that could determine which party controls the chamber and has multiple highly competitive House races.

Zoom out: Harris is believed to have become the first vice president to tour an abortion clinic while in office following a March visit to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Minnesota.

Go deeper: Inside Kamala Harris' fast Arizona trip after abortion ruling

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