POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Trump says Arizona’s abortion ban goes too far while defending the overturning of Roe v. Wade

Apr 10, 2024, 3:56 PM

Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump speaks at an election-night watch ...

Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump speaks at an election-night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on March 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Sixteen states held their primaries and caucuses today as part of Super Tuesday. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

ATLANTA (AP) — Donald Trump said Wednesday that an Arizona law that criminalizes nearly all abortions goes too far and called on Arizona lawmakers to change it, while also defending the overturning of Roe v. Wade that cleared states to ban the procedure.

“It’ll be straightened out and as you know, it’s all about states’ rights,” the former president told supporters and journalists after landing in Atlanta for a fundraiser. “It’ll be straightened out, and I’m sure that the governor and everybody else are going to bring it back into reason and that’ll be taken care of, I think, very quickly.”

Though Trump has waffled on whether he supports abortion rights, he appointed three of the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and ended a federally guaranteed right to abortion. Now facing growing political backlash as Democrats notch victories around the nation by campaigning on abortion rights, Trump increasingly has been put on the defensive and urged Republicans to avoid supporting bans that are unpopular with many Americans.

Trump was asked Wednesday whether he would sign a national abortion ban if elected president again. According to video taken of his news conference, he shook his head in response and said “No.”

Trump issued a video statement earlier this week declining to endorse a national abortion ban and saying he believes limits should be left to the states. His statement angered some religious conservatives and energized allies of President Joe Biden who see abortion rights as one of Trump’s weaknesses.

Biden was asked at a Rose Garden news conference for his message to Arizona voters after the state Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday cleared the way for the enforcement of an 1864 law that bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest and allows abortions only if the mother’s life is in jeopardy.

“Elect me,” the president said. “I’m in the 20th century … the 21st century. Not back then.”

Arizona Supreme Court rules a century-old law banning nearly all abortions can be enforced

The court’s decision drastically altered Arizona’s legal landscape for terminating pregnancies. The court suggested doctors can be prosecuted under the Civil War-era law, though the opinion written by the court’s majority did not say that.

Trump maintains he is proud that the three Supreme Court justices he nominated voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying states will have different restrictions. He supports three exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk.

In a stop at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta, Trump was asked whether doctors should be punished for performing abortions, and he said he would let that be up to the states.

Biden’s campaign spokesman, Michael Tyler, said Trump “owns the suffering and chaos happening right now, including in Arizona, because he proudly overturned Roe” and has a track record of “banning abortion every chance he gets.”

Trump also spoke about a Florida law that bans abortions after six weeks, saying that “is probably maybe going to change also.” Last week, the state Supreme Court upheld the state’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and the ruling also clears the way for the state to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

“For 52 years, people have wanted to end Roe v. Wade, to get it back to the states. We did that. It was an incredible thing, an incredible achievement,” he said. “Now the states have it, and the states are putting out what they want. It’s the will of the people. So Florida is probably going to change.”

Trump ignored questions about how he plans to vote himself on Florida’s pending state constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion access as a right of his home state’s residents. He did not elaborate on what he thinks the level of restrictions and access should be in Arizona or any other state.

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Trump says Arizona’s abortion ban goes too far while defending the overturning of Roe v. Wade