Top Democrat slams Trump’s latest abortion position: ‘Women are not going to be conned’

Written by on April 14, 2024

ABC News

A top Democrat on Sunday slammed former President Donald Trump after he sought to clarify his view on abortion bans as a state issue and said the various local laws were working “very brilliantly.”

“American women are not going to be conned by Donald Trump,” Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith told ABC News “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos, adding, “We know that he is the one who is responsible for what’s going on.”

Abortion restrictions returned to the spotlight after the Arizona Supreme Court last week upheld a near-total abortion ban from the 1800s that only provides exceptions if the mother’s life is at risk. The ruling was celebrated by abortion opponents but condemned by advocates for reproductive rights.

Trump said he thought the decision went too far and maintained that it “will be taken care of” by state lawmakers. Republican leaders in Arizona say they are weighing their options and what constituents want.

While Trump defended his states’ rights position on abortion as weakening Democrats’ political advantage on the issue, saying he “totally killed” it, Sen. Smith on “This Week” took another view. Trump has also often touted his role in ending Roe v. Wade’s guarantees to nationwide abortion access, Smith noted.

“That is what has caused all of this chaos and cruelty,” she said.

“He is responsible for these abortion bans,” she said, “and I think he’s going to be held accountable for that come the election in November.”

Smith, who has also worked at Planned Parenthood, is backing a proposal that would repeal The Comstock Act, a 19th-century law that abortion opponents say can be used to limit the mailing of abortion medication. On “This Week,” Smith indicated that Comstock could be another front in the fight over the issue.

“We have to pay attention to this and make sure that we are doing everything that we can to protect people’s rights to make their own decisions about their own bodies and their own lives,” she said.

Pressed by Stephanopoulos about Trump’s view and why it wasn’t sufficient to her, Smith said women in various states now live with disparate rights.

She pointed back to Trump’s comments last week that having states handle it individually is “working the way it’s supposed to.”

“We broke Roe v. Wade, and we did something that nobody thought was possible,” Trump said then. “We gave it back to the states. And the states are very working very brilliantly, in some cases conservative, in some cases not conservative.”

Smith responded on “This Week”: “Ask a woman in Arizona or Texas whether she thinks this is working for her. Because, for her, this isn’t a political discussion. This is about her personal life and her decisions that she can make for herself about her own life.”

Currently, 14 states enforce bans on abortion at all stages of pregnancy, and two states — Georgia and South Carolina — don’t allow abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy.

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against Roe in 2022 that undid a national right to abortion, Smith was one of more than 20 senators who called on President Joe Biden to use executive action to protect abortion rights.

On Sunday she lauded him for his support for abortion access but said the ultimate goal must be to elect more pro-abortion access lawmakers “so that we can put the protections of Roe in law.”

In light of how potent abortion access now appears to voters, who have consistently sided with Democrats on the issue, Stephanopoulos asked Smith about general election polls persistently showing Trump tied or ahead of the incumbent president

What matters is the choice that people will make at the ballot in November, Smith maintained, adding that “the [choices] couldn’t be more clear.”

“You have Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who are fighting to protect people’s freedom,” she said, “and Donald Trump who’s responsible for taking it away.”

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