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DNC to raise billboards in Times Square, across U.S. to highlight abortion rights a year after Roe v. Wade struck down

New poll numbers on abortion decision
57% of Americans say overturning Roe v. Wade was bad for country: CBS News poll 05:19

The right to an abortion has been a galvanizing issue for voters since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade a year ago, ending the federal right to an abortion. Now, as the country approaches the anniversary of that decision Saturday, Democrats are putting abortion rights at the center of their political messaging across the country.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) will launch a billboard campaign beginning on Thursday in Times Square and battleground states across the country. The ads, at a cost of six figures, according to the DNC, will highlight the contrast between Democrats' efforts to protect abortion rights and Republicans' attempts to ban abortion, according to a DNC official. 

Democratic National Committee billboard abortion rights ad campaign to mark a year since the fall of Roe v. Wade. screenshot from billboard ad / DNC

Billboards are also going up in Atlanta, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Tallahassee, and Raleigh — all in key states in the 2024 presidential election. The ads say the Biden administration is "fighting for a woman's right to choose!" The campaign also features a quote from President Joe Biden, calls for the codification of Roe in federal law and claims former President Donald Trump and his supporters want to ban abortion nationwide. 

The DNC will also be running Facebook, Instagram and CTV ads in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Arizona this week, as well as taking over ads on the homepage of the Washington Post on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary. 

Since the Supreme Court released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, returning the issue to states to decide, 14 states have banned abortion with few exceptions. Another 11 states have enacted further restrictions on abortion, though some have been tied up in litigation. A case on the future use of the common abortion drug mifepristone, which would have national implications, also moved forward, and several states have moved to restrict access to the drug.

The monumental shift for abortion rights since the Dobbs decision helped lead to a number of prominent victories for Democrats in the 2022 midterms, including in battleground states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, where abortion was a top issue on the campaign trail. It also helped Democrats and progressives win in a number of special elections over the past year, while a series of anti-abortion ballot initiatives, like one in Kansas, failed when put before voters. 

The DNC billboard campaign is part of a broader push by Democrats and reproductive rights activists to begin mobilizing voters on abortion rights. The DNC, along with the Democrats' Senate campaign arm and House campaign arm, all signaled on Wednesday that it will be a top issue for them in the next election cycle. 

"There's no question that this issue will be on the ballot in 2024 in all our senate races," said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Sen. Gary Peters on a press call. 

Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been a leading figure for the Biden administration on the issue, will be heading to Charlotte, North Carolina, Saturday to speak on reproductive rights. She will push for national legislation to protect reproductive rights and will argue Republicans have an extreme approach to reproductive health, a White House official said. 

Her visit to the battleground state comes weeks after Republican lawmakers in the state overrode a veto by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on a 12-week abortion ban with limited exceptions. The ban is set to go into effect next month. 

The DNC and Biden campaign plan to deploy dozens of officials and surrogates across the country to discuss the issue in the days leading up to the anniversary and will encourage all 50 states to hold events on the impact of the Dobbs decision in their states. 

Democrats will also be relying on their national organizing program to make calls and send texts for states with upcoming races where abortion is expected to play a major role, like the August special election in Ohio and the upcoming off-year election in Virginia, which held its primary Tuesday. 

In the Senate Wednesday, Democrats will seek unanimous consent on several pieces of legislation to protect women's rights. 

While Democrats have seized on abortion rights since the overturning of Roe, Republicans have struggled to navigate the issue on the national stage. 

Former President Donald Trump criticized a six-week abortion ban passed in Florida and signed into law by  2024 rival Gov. Ron DeSantis, calling it too harsh. But he has also taken credit for overturning Roe v. Wade, noting he nominated three of the Supreme Court justices in the Dobbs decision. Presidential candidate Tim Scott initially waffled over whether he would support a 15-week federal abortion ban proposed by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham before signaling he would support one. 

One Republican presidential hopeful who has been very outspoken about his support for a federal abortion ban is former Vice President Mike Pence. While Democrats plan to rally in support of abortion rights on the anniversary of the Supreme Court  decision, Pence will be rallying the same day with anti-abortion groups in Washington.

Caitlin Huey-Burns contributed to this report.

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