Trump ‘wants to take America back to 1800s’ on abortion, says US VP Harris

Trump ‘wants to take America back to 1800s’ on abortion, says US VP Harris
Trump ‘wants to take America back to 1800s’ on abortion, says US VP Harris

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - US Vice President Kamala Harris speaks on reproductive freedom at El Rio Neighborhood Center in Tucson, Arizona, on April 12, 2024. — AFP pic

TUCSON, April 13 — Democrats came out swinging at Donald Trump on the divisive issue of abortion yesterday, blaming him for unpopular restrictions they said are turning back the clock on women’s rights ahead of November’s presidential election.

Days after Arizona became the latest state to declare almost all abortions illegal, Vice President Kamala Harris told a rally the populist former president was the architect of the ban, and warned worse was to come if he wins the White House.

“Here’s what a second Trump term looks like: More bans, more suffering and less freedom,” Harris told supporters in Tucson.

“Just like he did in Arizona, he basically wants to take America back to the 1800s.

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“But we are not going to let that happen because here’s the deal: This is 2024, not the 1800s. And we’re not going back.”

Harris was in the battleground southwestern state just days after its conservative supreme court rolled back reproductive rights to the Civil War era, saying an 1864 ban on abortion was valid.

The ruling, which rendered almost all pregnancy terminations illegal with no exceptions for rape or incest, made Arizona the latest state to severely limit the procedure.

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It came after the US Supreme Court — with a conservative majority thanks to three Trump appointments — in 2022 overturned Roe v Wade, the decades-old federal guarantee of abortion rights.

While state-level bans are popular with the evangelical wing of the Republican Party and with some of their elected representatives, a majority of the electorate disapproves and has voted to enshrine rights even in conservative states like Kansas.

Harris’s speech was part of a Democrat strategy to pin the bans on Trump, as they seek to drive support for his November opponent Joe Biden.

In the wake of the Arizona court ruling this week, the party is splashing a huge sum of money on an advertising campaign in the must-win state — aimed at key Democratic target groups: young people, women and Latino voters.

They hope that this will help drive turnout and support for Biden, even as many polls show the 81-year-old trailing his populist predecessor.

“Overturning Roe was just the opening act of a larger strategy to take women’s rights and freedoms,” said Harris.

“Donald Trump hand-picked three members of the United States Supreme Court because he intended for them to overturn Roe, and as he intended they did.

“And now because of Donald Trump, more than 20 states in our nation have bans.

“Donald Trump is the architect of this health care crisis.”

Trump is on the back foot over the issue, stuck between crowing about his role in removing the nationwide right to abortion and urging states not to implement the kind of bans that are the obvious natural result.

On Friday he again proudly boasted of his achievement, and insisted state-level laws were working.

“We don’t need it any longer because we broke Roe v Wade,” he told reporters when asked if he would sign a national ban on abortion.

“We gave it back to the states and...(it’s) working the way it’s supposed to.”

But writing on his website earlier in the day, he urged Arizona to change its 160-year-old law.

“The Governor and the Arizona Legislature must use HEART, COMMON SENSE, and ACT IMMEDIATELY, to remedy what has happened,” he wrote.

“Remember, it is now up to the States and the Good Will of those that represent THE PEOPLE. We must ideally have the three Exceptions for Rape, Incest, and Life of the Mother.”

The message, which gave no indication of his preferred time limit on abortion, repeated untrue claims that his Democratic opponents support the execution of babies after birth. — AFP

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