Trump says: leave abortion to the states. That’s where things get complicated

(Paul Sancya/AP)

Trump says: leave abortion to the states. That’s where things get complicated

Election 2024, California politics, abortion

Believe E. Pinho

April 9, 2024

Former President Trump announced his 2024 position on abortion on Monday, saying he favors leaving it up to the states to determine abortion access, essentially maintaining the status quo that has existed since the Supreme Court ruled in 2022 eliminated nationwide access to abortion.

“My view now is that we have abortion where everyone wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine this through vote or legislation or maybe both,” Trump said in a video on Truth Social. “And whatever they decide, in this case it has to be the law of the land, the law of the state.”

President Biden’s campaign issued a response, saying that despite Trump’s claim that he would leave it up to the states to decide, he would support a national ban if he were in office. The Biden campaign followed up on this statement by releasing an ad featuring a Texas woman who was denied an abortion to prevent infection after a miscarriage.

“Donald Trump did this,” the ad says.

“Because of Donald Trump, 1 in 3 women in America already live under extreme and dangerous bans that endanger their lives and threaten doctors with prosecution for doing their jobs,” Biden said in a statement. “And it’s only going to get worse.”

But while his long-awaited announcement made clear how his campaign would tackle the divisive issue in an election year, Trump’s position is not as simple as it seems.

It has also reignited the debate over how states have handled abortion access since Roe vs. Wade was destroyed two years ago.

“Leave it to the states” may not be so simple

In the 2022 Dobbs case, the Supreme Court struck down the precedent for nationwide abortion access, returning decision-making power on the divisive issue to states. In the years since, states have taken a series of measures to further restrict or protect access to abortion

and in many places the struggle is still going on.

For several states, trigger laws banning abortion took effect immediately after the Dobbs ruling.

Abortions are largely illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas


West Virginia

and Arizona

. Other states have Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming


restrict access to abortion to varying degrees.

In his announcement, Trump acknowledged the mixed status of abortion rights resulting from the Supreme Court ruling.

“Many states will be different, many will have different number of weeks or some will be more conservative than others and they will be,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the will of the people. You have to follow your heart, or in many cases your religion or faith.”

But having different laws by state affects people everywhere, says Jodi Hicks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of California.

“A health care system that is split by state impacts everyone,” Hicks said. “That is why it is so important that policymakers commit to protecting fundamental rights and reproductive freedom. There’s no way to say they’re going to leave this to one state or another because we’re all connected when it comes to healthcare.”

On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the state can enforce

the law of 1864

criminalizing abortions except when the mother’s life is in danger. But Arizona for Abortion Access, a reproductive rights advocacy group, says it has collected enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in November, leaving it up to voters.

California voters responded to the Dobbs ruling by overwhelmingly passing a proposal codifying access to abortion in the state constitution. The proposal received nearly 67% of the vote, establishing Californians’ fundamental right to choose abortion and their fundamental right to choose or refuse contraceptive methods.

In the first post-Dobbs election on abortion, Kansas voted to retain constitutional language guaranteeing reproductive rights. But

the fight didn’t end there. I

In the two years since, Republicans have fought with Democrats in the state legislature. Laura Kelly on how far this protection extends.

In a recent ruling, Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a bill that would require health care providers to ask patients why they want an abortion and store their answers in a state database.

In Maryland, where the right to abortion is already protected, state lawmakers put a “reproductive freedom” question on the ballot this year about whether to add language guaranteeing access to the state constitution.

In November, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative that would create a state constitutional amendment protecting an individual’s right to “contraception; fertility treatment; continuation of one’s own pregnancy; miscarriage care; and abortion.”

The amendment allowed that “abortion may be prohibited after fetal viability,” which is decided on a case-by-case basis by the pregnant patient’s doctor.

In Trump’s home state of Florida, voters will decide whether to include abortion rights in the state’s constitution in a ballot initiative scheduled for the November election. The initiative, which barely came to a vote after the state Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision approving the language last week, needs 60% approval to pass.

What it could mean for Republicans

The 2022 midterm elections, the first elections after the Dobbs decision, were widely viewed as a nationwide referendum on abortion access. Polls showed that abortion motivated many voters to cast ballots in the 2022 midterm elections. And although Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, they did not capture Congress as they had hoped.

Many political observers saw their magister as evidence that Americans want abortion rights restored. Since they achieved their victory by Roe vs. Wade, Republican politicians are divided over their message on what to do next on abortion.

“The problem is you have a pro-life movement that has been focused on a single-minded goal for 50 years,” he said.

Jon Fleischman

, a GOP political strategist. “It’s becoming very clear that what isn’t there is a uniformity in the pro-life movement about the next step. And so you’re seeing broad disagreement about where things should go next.”

In response to Trump’s message on Monday, many Republicans joined the national conversation to call for even stricter measures.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) posted on exceptions for rape. incest and the life of the mother.” Trump responded with several posts mocking Graham on Truth Social, saying the senator was hurting the Republican Party by harping on the issue. “Many good Republicans have lost elections over this issue , and people like Lindsey Graham, who are unrelenting, are giving the Democrats their dream of the House of Representatives, the Senate and maybe even the presidency,” Trump said.

“The federal government cannot abandon women and children exploited through abortion. Leaving abortion policy up to the states is not enough,” Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote, said in a statement. “While federal legislation on abortion policy is currently challenging, we are confident that a Trump administration will be staffed with pro-life staff committed to pro-life policies, including rights of conscience, restrictions on funding of taxpayer-funded abortion and protections for pro-life policies. conditions of life.”

A poll released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 80% of American adults, including 94% of Democrats, 81% of independents and 70% of Republicans, believe women and their doctors should make decisions take over abortions, instead of legislators.


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