On the campaign trail in Tampa on Tuesday, President Joe Biden argued the overturning of Roe v. Wade was part of an electoral deal made by former President Donald Trump, his likely 2024 rival for the White House. He then suggested the political plots involving abortion may not be over yet, as he hopes the issue of reproductive freedom stays salient going into November. 

What You Need To Know

  • President Joe Biden visited Tampa on Tuesday one week before Florida’s six-week abortion ban takes effect to lay the blame for abortion restrictions around the country at the feet of former President Donald Trump
  • Biden made the case that his reelection, with a Democratic-controlled House and Senate, would mean the restoration of the protections of Roe v. Wade, while Trump’s return to the White House would mean further restrictions, his campaign said on Monday
  • In Florida, the belief is that the six-week ban will drive Democrats and other Floridians to the polls this November to vote in favor of a statewide referendum to enshrine abortion rights into the state constitution
  • Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez-Rodriguez argued voters, who polling suggests broadly oppose the most restrictive bans, will be turned off by Trump taking credit for the end of Roe v. Wade

“It was a political deal to get rid of Roe v. Wade — a deal he made with the evangelical base of the Republican party,” Biden said, going on to claim those in the religious group overlooked Trump’s “moral and character flaws in exchange for his commitment to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe.”

Trump appointed three of the justices who were in the majority of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the decision which reversed Roe v. Wade in June 2022, returning the issue of whether and how much to restrict abortions to states and paving the way for restrictions and bans on the practice in states across the country.  

Biden went on to warn that his rival could be making deals “right now” with “MAGA extremists” to ban abortion nationwide, despite Trump’s recent pledge that he would not sign a federal abortion ban. 

The president’s trip to the Sunshine State comes one week before Florida’s six-week abortion ban, signed by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis one year ago, is set to take effect. 

“Next week, one of the nation's most extreme anti-abortion laws take effect here in Florida,” Biden said during his speech at a community college in Tampa on Tuesday. “It's criminalizing reproductive health care before women even know whether they're pregnant. I mean, this is bizarre.” 

Democrats have sought to put the issue of reproductive health front and center since Roe’s overturning as the topic has repeatedly proved electorally fruitful for the party. 

Polls show most Americans do not support very restrictive laws on the procedure and Democrats credit the issue, in part, with a stronger-than-expected showing in the 2022 congressional midterm elections.

“Trump is hoping that Americans will somehow forget that he’s responsible for the horror women are facing in this country every single day because of him. It’s a bad bet,” Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez-Rodriguez wrote in a public memo released Tuesday morning. “In every single key battleground, Trump’s abortion bans will be front and center this November.”

“There’s one person responsible for this nightmare and he has acknowledged it and he brags about it: Donald Trump,” Biden said on Tuesday. 

“Now in America today in 2024, women have fewer rights than their mothers and their grandmothers because of Donald Trump,” Biden went on to say later in his remarks. 

Since Roe’s overturning, when the issue has appeared on the ballot in a number of states — even ruby red ones like Kansas and Ohio — voters have chosen to keep abortion more widely accessible. Biden on Tuesday declared that this November, Florida will be added to that list. 

While paving the way for the state’s six-week ban to take effect, Florida’s Supreme Court also allowed an initiative that would enshrine abortion protections into the state constitution to appear on the ballot this November. Biden’s camp hopes anger over the six-week restriction and the chance to vote on the ballot initiative will drive Florida voters to the polls this fall and boost Democrats up and down the ballot.

“Folks, the extreme laws passed since the overturning of Roe v. Wade has no place in the United States of America,” Biden said on Tuesday. “But what does have a place in America is your voice.” 

Biden’s pitch to Floridians on Tuesday is part of the Biden team’s bid to turn the tide on a state that has shifted solidly to the right in recent cycles. Earlier this month, directly following the state supreme court’s decision on the abortion law, the president’s reelection campaign declared Florida as “winnable” this November. 

The Biden team is looking to deploy a similar strategy in the key swing state of Arizona, where that state’s supreme court cleared the way for an all-but-total ban on abortion to take effect. 

“Just take a look at Arizona — it goes all the way back to 1864,” Biden said of the law on Tuesday, “before Arizona was even a state, before women had the right to vote.” 

In an interview with Spectrum News on Tuesday, Arizona State Senator Eva Burch, who publicly told her colleagues of her plan to get an abortion due to her pregnancy no longer being viable in a speech on the state Senate floor last month, said she wants to hear a “commitment” from the Biden administration that they will continue to fight for greater access. 

“I think that what we also want to know is that they're going to continue assertively in this fight to restore access to reproductive health care in these states where we've had these really catastrophic outcomes as far as abortion bans are concerned,” she said. “It has been heartening to see the success of the ballot initiatives but of course, there is a federal responsibility and we just want to know that that's being upheld.”

She added she has “every reason” to believe it will be.

On Monday, in its latest attempt to protect access to reproductive services, the Biden administration announced a rule seeking to strengthen privacy protections around health records, including for patients who travel to obtain abortion in states where it is legal. 

Burch called the move a “step in the right direction” but noted she believes officials in states where the practice is restricted will find “workarounds” in order to continue to crack down on the procedure. 

“These individual states are going to continue to try to find workarounds,” she said. “We have these really extremist legislators who have majorities in their respective states that are really committed to doing everything they can to erode the rights of people who are seeking abortion care in their home states.”

For his part, Trump has been critical of both the Florida and Arizona abortion laws, calling the Sunshine State’s six-week ban a “terrible mistake.” 

Trump told reporters earlier this month that he believed the Arizona ruling went too far and will be “straightened out.”