Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to supporters
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a political rally on July 29, 2023 in Erie, Pennsylvania.
(Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

Why Trump Doesn't Get to Say Arizona 'Went Too Far' on Abortion

"In overturning Roe, Trump's Supreme Court directly invited Arizona's total ban," wrote columnist Robert Reich. "It's all Trump's doing."

One progressive lawmaker complained of "whiplash" Wednesday as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump attempted to distance himself—and his own stated abortion policy proposals—from the Arizona Supreme Court's reinstatement of a 160-year-old abortion ban.

A day after the high court upheld a ban on abortion care from the moment of conception, with no exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest, the former president agreed with a reporter that the state had gone "too far" and that abortion law in Arizona will "be straightened out."

As U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) noted, on Monday Trump clearly said he believes states should be empowered to determine their own abortion laws, as well as saying he is "proudly the person responsible" for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022—clearing the way for state abortion bans.

"Now that Arizona turned the law back to 1864, he says it shouldn't be up to the states?" asked McGovern.

As President Joe Biden's reelection campaign pointed out, the Arizona Supreme Court cited Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the decision that overturned Roe, 22 times in its decision to reinstate the 1864 law.

"One person is responsible: Donald Trump," said the Biden campaign.

Bans like Arizona's, said Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, are "the Republican plan."

"This is Donald Trump's plan," said Epting. "They can't run from it. They can't hide from it. And they can't lie to voters about it."

Trump—who lied at least 30,573 times while in office—claimed on Wednesday that he would not sign a national abortion ban if Congress sent one to his desk.

While Democratic politicians have called out the Republican this week, "mainstream outlets are misleadingly sanitizing the language of Donald Trump, this time by obscuring evidence that he would sign a national abortion ban," Media Matters for America researchers highlighted Tuesday.

Right-wing judges and legislators have moved full steam ahead with pushing for abortion bans and restrictions, even as it has become increasingly clear that forced pregnancy is unpopular with Americans.

Pew Research's latest survey in Arizona found that 49% of adults believe abortion care should be legal in most or all cases, while 46% said it should be illegal.

An AP-NORC poll found last year that 64% of adults believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. The survey was taken after several women in states with so-called "exceptions" to abortion bans suffered physical and mental health harms after being denied abortions despite health complications.

Like Trump, Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake tried Tuesday to denounce the state Supreme Court ruling, but several critics reminded the public that she spoke in favor of the 1864 law in 2022. Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.), whose district Biden won in 2020, quickly posted a statement on social media calling the decision a "disaster for women and providers."

Columnist and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich said the ruling "should make Trump squirm," considering his stated support for each state's right to decide their own abortion policies and his "proud" ownership of the Dobbs ruling.

"In overturning Roe, Trump's Supreme Court directly invited Arizona's total ban," wrote Reich. "It's all Trump's doing. In 2016, during a debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump pledged to remake the U.S. Supreme Court with nominees who were against abortion... Later in that debate, Trump predicted his nominees would help deliver the end of Roe v. Wade."

"Trump's 'pro-life' justices did end Roe—therebyleaving it up to the states whether to ban abortion," he added. "So Arizona has now resurrected its 1864 law that did just that. Trump can't escape responsibility."

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