Trump hoped to sidestep the abortion issue. Arizona’s near-total ban shows why he can’t


Trump hoped to sidestep the abortion issue. Arizona’s near-total ban shows why he can’t

Abortion, 2024 elections

Mark Z. Barabak

April 10, 2024

Donald Trump hoped to sidestep the abortion debate by suggesting he would turn the matter over to individual states, rather than Congress and the president imposing a nationwide ban.

But instead of deflecting, Trump’s move tied him even closer to the issue by putting his political fate in the hands of judges and state lawmakers willing to go far beyond where most voters stand.

It didn’t take long for that dynamic and its consequences to manifest.

A day after Trump publicly announced his position, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a near-total abortion ban, enforcing territorial legislation passed in 1864, at a time when women could not vote and slavery was completely legal in America.

Although legal proceedings are likely to delay implementation of the ruling, the political impact was immediate, bringing the abortion issue to the forefront

in a crucial state of contention, reminding voters of Trump’s role


Overturning Roe vs. Wade and delivering a gift to President Biden and fellow Democrats.

As it is, voters think Republicans want to hire women [backward]said Christine Matthews, a pollster and strategist for the Republican Party. After Tuesday’s decision


You can just write the commercial: Republicans want to take women back to the 1960s


, that is. …It’s just insane.

Arizona is one of the few states likely to do so


I conclude that the presidential election is also one of many elections where advocates have qualified or hope to qualify for the November ballot measures enshrining abortion rights into law.

The Arizona ballot effort got a big boost as a result of Tuesday’s decision, said Barrett Marson, a Republican strategist in Phoenix.

“There’s the economy. There’s immigration and of course there are other issues,” Marson said. “But now abortion is zooming to the top.”

The ruling appeared to catch many in Arizona off guard, and fear of repercussions was evident in the reaction of several leading Republicans, including former governors. Doug Ducey. He appointed the four justices who upheld the 1864 law in a 4-2 decision.

“Today’s ruling is not the outcome I would have preferred, and I call on our elected leaders to heed the will of the people and address this issue with policies that are workable and reflective of our electorate,” said Ducey, who signed an agreement. 2022 law allowing abortions in Arizona up to 15 weeks.

That legislation was nullified by Tuesday’s decision, which set a precedent for the 1864 law and ban on abortion.

except those necessary to save a woman’s life


Abortion has long been a sticky issue for Trump, whose positions have moved from support to legalized abortion in recent decades.

In a videotaped statement Monday, he again claimed credit for appointing the three conservative justices who allowed the Supreme Court to overturn Roe and roll back the nation’s 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion.

But after months of musing about whether we should support a national ban and at what stage of pregnancy 15, 16 weeks? Trump ended up in a perceived middle ground. States should decide the issue, the former president said, not lawmakers in Washington.


That disappointed some of the most ardent abortion foes, including Trump’s estranged ex-Vice President Mike Pence, who called it “a slap in the face to … millions of pro-life Americans.”

That said, leaders of several major anti-abortion groups quickly reiterated their support for Trump in November, reasoning that the presumptive Republican Party


nominee would still be a better choice than Biden.

“We want to protect as many babies as possible,” said Penny Nance, the


CEO of Concerned Women for America, told Politico, “and supporting President Trump does that.

Polls consistently show that most Americans believe abortion should be legal to some extent, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, and that a broad, bipartisan majority favors abortion.


abortion rights in cases of rape, incest and when the


The mother’s health is in serious danger.

However, most voters do not vote solely on the abortion issue, and even those who do tend to support candidates closest to their positions, even if they disagree on some details.

Where the issue has been important in recent elections is in driving new voters to the polls, or motivating those who might not otherwise show up to vote. Everything indicates that the turnout worked in favor of the Democrats.

Biden and his party bucked history and largely enjoyed a relatively successful 2022 midterm election


to turn out


the election battle saw an increase in the number of women and younger voters, both groups that tend to support legal abortion.

When the issue was put directly to voters in the form of a ballot measure, significant majorities upheld abortion rights in more than a half-dozen states, including Republican bastions like Montana, Kentucky and Ohio.

“We know that when voters have an opportunity… they vote against extreme bans,” Matthews said.

That’s why Tuesday


The Supreme Court’s decision could be crucial in the fall if those voters also back Biden.

Democrats from Washington to Arizona were eager to take advantage of the ruling. Vice President Kamala Harris announced a trip to Tucson on Friday, where she plans to discuss reproductive rights, and issued a statement condemning Trump.

Stacy Pearson, a Democratic strategist who supports the ballot measure in Arizona, said the decision underscored the urgency of highlighting the abortion issue.


voters in November.

She expressed confidence that proponents would have the nearly 400,000 signatures needed to qualify the proposed constitutional amendment, but said they aim to collect as many signatures as possible before the July 3 deadline to head off any legal challenges offer.

Pearson alluded to the Supreme Court ruling and the return to Arizona’s territorial days. “I encourage women to sign the petition,” she joked, “while they’re still sitting still.” [allowed] to ride.”


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