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Biden slams ‘outrageous’ Florida abortion ruling

Biden says Trump 'scrambling' to limit abortion stance damage
Source: Video Screenshot

US President Joe Biden criticized Tuesday an “outrageous” Florida supreme court ruling that paved the way for six-week abortion ban, seizing on an issue that the Democrat hopes could boost his reelection chances.

The decision by the southern state’s conservative-dominated court on Monday threw Florida into the heart of an increasingly bitter nationwide fight over reproductive rights ahead of November’s US presidential election.

“Yesterday’s extreme decision puts desperately needed medical care even further out of reach for millions of women in Florida and across the South,” Biden said in a statement.

Biden said the court’s decision was set to trigger a Republican-backed law slashing the current limit of 15 weeks to six “before many (women) even know they are pregnant.”

“It is outrageous,” he said.

Biden’s Democrats are championing the issue of reproductive rights ahead of November’s rematch with Republican former president Donald Trump, seeing it as a potential vote-winner.

The conservative-majority US Supreme Court, which includes three Trump nominees, overturned the federal right to abortion in June 2022 and left it up to individual states to decide the issue.

Vice President Kamala Harris — who has led a nationwide tour to highlight the abortion issue — accused hard-right populist Trump of seeking a ban across the United States.

“Donald Trump created this health care crisis, and he has no plans to stop now,” she said in a statement.

“If Donald Trump has his way, he’ll gut abortion care in every state across the country.”

The Florida decision on Monday meanwhile came at the same time as the court also allowed an abortion rights amendment to appear on the ballot in November.

The state’s court was considering both the legality of the abortion restrictions and the proposed amendment, which would enshrine a woman’s right to abortion in the Florida constitution.

Biden, a devout Catholic, as president has stood firm in his support for abortion access.

Biden’s campaign said the Florida decision could even help him secure a long-shot win in the state in November’s presidential election.

“This new, extreme abortion ban — one that Donald Trump personally paved the way for — will now amount to a ban for the entire Southeast,” the Biden campaign said in a statement late Monday.

“Florida is not an easy state to win, but it is a winnable one for President Biden.”

Florida has been a Republican stronghold in recent years, with Trump winning in 2016 when he became president and again in 2020 when Biden defeated him.

Republican governor Ron DeSantis — who ran against Trump for the party’s presidential nomination earlier this year — has strongly pushed a conservative stance on “culture war” issues such as abortion and education.

Since the 2022 US Supreme Court ruling that overturned the 1973 Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, some 20 states have banned or restricted abortion.

But voters in several Republican majority states have pushed back against moves to limit abortion access.

In conservative Kansas and Kentucky, as well as in the swing state of Michigan, voters rejected ballot initiatives in 2022 that would have effectively banned abortion.

Ohio voters passed a constitutional amendment last year ensuring abortion access.

In addition to Florida, there are pushes for abortion ballot measures in numerous other states including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York and South Dakota.

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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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