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Trump says Arizona's 160-year-old abortion law goes too far

Washington — Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he believes an Arizona law from 1864 that outlaws nearly all abortions goes too far, but continued to laud the Supreme Court decision in 2022 that reversed Roe v. Wade and overturned the constitutional right to abortion.

Speaking to reporters on the tarmac at the airport in Atlanta, the former president said he believes state lawmakers in Arizona will take action to change the Civil War-era ban. On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the law may be enforced. The statute allows abortions only to save the life of the mother, and does not include exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

"It's all about state's rights, and that'll be straightened out," Trump said. "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."

Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives at the Atlanta Airport on April 10, 2024.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives at the Atlanta Airport on April 10, 2024. Megan Varner / Getty Images

Abortion continues to play a significant role in the 2024 election. Democrats hope that the June 2022 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court — composed of three justices appointed by Trump — that dismantled the right to abortion will be a motivator for voters who favor protections for abortion access.

Michael Tyler, a spokesperson for President Biden's 2024 campaign, lambasted Trump in a statement, saying he "owns the suffering and chaos happening right now, including in Arizona."

"Trump lies constantly — about everything — but has one track record: banning abortion every chance he gets," Tyler said. "The guy who wants to be a dictator on day one will use every tool at his disposal to ban abortion nationwide, with or without Congress, and running away from reporters to his private jet like a coward doesn't change that reality."  

Trump on Monday released a video statement that declined to endorse a federal abortion ban, which many anti-abortion rights groups support and have called for him to endorse. Instead, he said abortion access will be determined by the states "by vote or legislation, or perhaps both."

"It's the will of the people," Trump reiterated Wednesday.

He went on to call the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe an "incredible achievement."

"We did that," Trump said. "And now the states have it and the states are putting out what they want."

The three justices the former president appointed to the nation's highest court, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, voted to end the constitutional right to abortion.

In Arizona, the 160-year-old law upheld by the state supreme court supersedes a law enacted in 2022 that prohibits abortion after 15 weeks. Abortion rights advocates, though, are working to place an initiative on the November ballot that would amend the state constitution to establish a fundamental right to abortion until viability, considered between 22 and 24 weeks into pregnancy. 

Arizona for Abortion Access, the group behind the initiative, said last week it had collected enough signatures to qualify the measure for ballot in November.

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