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From Florida to Arizona, abortion politics dominates the 2024 race

In Florida, a ban on most abortions took effect after the sixth week of pregnancy.

In Arizona, state lawmakers have repealed a strict Civil War-era abortion ban.

And across the country, Wednesday's presidential campaign was filled with reminders of how important the debate over abortion rights will be for Democrats in voters' decisions this fall.

Nearly two years after the Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade has overturned, Democrats are betting that the tangible impact of the abortion restrictions that many Americans are already experiencing — and the threat of further consequences — will help their party stay in power in a dire and unstable political environment, while Republicans are struggling to address a problem that has become a significant and lasting burden for them.

“Donald Trump is responsible for the harm that federal abortion bans inflict on women in our country every day,” Vice President Kamala Harris wrote on social media Wednesday morning before delivering remarks in Jacksonville, Florida, about the state’s “extreme” measures ” new ban.

Mr. Trump, she said there, would bring “more bans, more suffering, less freedom” if he won re-election.

As in the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats are making their argument using language long favored by Republicans – about freedom and limiting the power of government.

They believe Mr. Trump, whose Supreme Court nominees helped overturn Roe, has recently further bolstered their argument.

In an interview with Time magazine published on Tuesday, Mr. Trump refused to veto a national abortion ban and said he would allow states to monitor women's pregnancies and prosecute those who violate it Abortion restrictions violated.

“There appears to be no limit to how invasive Trump would allow the state to be,” President Biden said in a video released Wednesday morning. “This should be a decision between a woman and her doctor, and the government should remove itself from people’s lives.”

The focus on abortion rights gave Democrats a boost in the midterm elections, as candidates capitalized on voter anger over abortion restrictions to overcome difficult national headwinds in key elections.

And it remained a strong force in subsequent elections.

State Rep. Mike Caruso of Florida, a Republican who opposed the six-week ban, noted that a number of states, including Florida, are likely to have abortion rights measures on the ballot this fall.

“It will hurt Republicans,” he said. To Democrats who were not enthusiastic about Mr. Biden, he said: “Now they have a reason to show up. “I think it will have a big impact on the November election.”

But it is not yet clear how much attention the issue will generate across the country in a presidential election marked by economic worries at home and crises abroad and involving two well-known and unpopular men – one of whom, Mr. Trump , is facing multiple criminal charges – at the top of her party’s tickets.

“President Trump has long consistently supported the rights of states to make abortion decisions,” Karoline Leavitt, a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement. “Women want a president who will secure our country’s borders, drive violent criminals from our neighborhoods and build an economy that helps hardworking families thrive.”

And even as Democrats tried to keep the issue in voters' minds on Wednesday, they were competing with unrest on campuses across the country, including in critical battleground states, as students protested against the war in Gaza and many objected to Mr. Biden's support for Israel.

Some party strategists have warned that such unrest could be damaging for the party that controls the White House.

Nicholas Nehamas contributed to the reporting.

Anna Harden

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