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Biden campaigns on abortion in conservative Florida

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US President Joe Biden headed to Florida on Tuesday, hoping — and not without reason — his push for abortion rights will resonate in the conservative-leaning state.

Won by Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, and led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, the populous southeastern state has seemed out of reach for Democrats for nearly a decade.

But since the US Supreme Court under Trump’s presidency stripped the federal right to abortion, voters have rallied on the issue, even in solidly Republican states.

Trump meanwhile is attending his hush money trial Tuesday in New York, unable to leave court to campaign for his November White House comeback bid.

The stakes for Florida voters are high: the state supreme court recently upheld a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, set to go into effect May 1.

That ban could be overturned at the polls in November, however, when a state measure to enshrine abortion rights will also be on the ballot.

Since the conservative-majority Supreme Court returned abortion rights to each state to regulate, 21 states have banned or severely restricted abortion.

However, abortion rights campaigners have won every time the issue went directly to voters.

Such a record gives Democrats, and Biden’s camp in particular, hope that they can flip Florida come Election Day — a feat that would send shock waves through American politics.

“Florida is not an easy state to win, but it is a winnable one for President Biden,” campaign spokesman Julie Chavez Rodriguez said.

“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,” she added.

Biden, 81 and a lifelong Catholic, has long fought Trump on abortion, an issue on which the 77-year-old has found himself pinned between hardline Republicans and more moderate voters.

Trump, who has a looser affiliation with religion, has often bragged about his role in the 2022 Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

That ruling saw conservative justices he appointed help strike down half a century of legal precedent upholding the constitutional right to abortion.

Women in Republican-controlled states have since faced problems accessing reproductive care, including for non-viable pregnancies and even IVF treatment.

And while the Supreme Court decision was a major victory for the religious right, a majority of Americans favor at least some abortion protections.

Trump has since tried to strike a more hands-off tone, suggesting at first he’d sign a 15-week ban before saying the decision belongs to the states.

Democrats aren’t buying it, however, with Chavez Rodriguez warning “Trump and his allies have no intention at stopping their assault on reproductive rights.”

Trump’s conservative vice president Mike Pence, meanwhile, wrote in The New York Times that his former boss has “betrayed the pro-life movement.”

While abortion rights votes have succeeded in conservative states, it remains to be seen whether they’ll translate into votes for Biden.

In 2016 a measure to raise the minimum wage, long a Democratic priority, was put on the ballot, alongside choices for the president.

The wage measure won over a majority of voters — as did Trump.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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