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Trump says Arizona's near-total abortion ban goes too far, but won't elaborate on what should change

Former President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaking with attendees at the 2023 Turning Point Action Conference in Florida in July 2023.

Arizona is considered a crucial battleground state in the upcoming presidential election. And the state Supreme Court’s  decision to uphold a near-total abortion ban from the 1860sis now drawing attention from presidential candidates.

When former president Republican Donald Trump was asked Wednesday if he believes Arizona’s abortion ban goes too far, he said it does, but said he thought it would be "straightened out."

“I’m sure that the governor and everybody else are going to bring it back into reason and that will be taken care of I think very quickly," he said. 

Trump didn’t elaborate on what kind of restriction he thinks Arizona should enact. 

Trump faces political pressure on abortion rights, which Democrats hope will be a defining issue in November's election, after issuing a video statement this week declining to endorse a national abortion ban and saying he believes limits should be left to the states. His earlier statement angered religious conservatives and energized allies of President Joe Biden who see abortion rights as one of Trump’s weaknesses.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday cleared the way for the enforcement of an 1864 law that bans abortion at all stages of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape or incest.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre placed the blame directly on Trump and Republicans for laying the groundwork for the Arizona ruling.

"When the president’s predecessor handicapped three Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, it paved the way for the chaos and confusion we are seeing play out across the country today," Jean-Pierre said. 

In a statement, Biden called the Arizona law extreme, dangerous and cruel.

Arizona Attorney General Democrat  Kris Mayes told KJZZ's "The Show" Vice President Kamala Harris called her directly to offer support in fighting the ban.

Harris also announced plans to travel to Tucson on Friday to speak about abortion. She spoke about reproductive rights  in Phoenix just last month.

Trump maintains he is proud that the three Supreme Court justices he nominated voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying states will have different restrictions. He supports three exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk.

After weighing in on Arizona's ruling, Trump also spoke about a Florida law that bans abortions after six weeks, saying that “is probably maybe going to change also.”

“For 52 years, people have wanted to end Roe v. Wade, to get it back to the states. We did that. It was an incredible thing, an incredible achievement,” he said. “Now the states have it, and the states are putting out what they want. It’s the will of the people. So Florida is probably going to change.”

Trump ignored questions about how he plans to vote himself on Florida’s pending state constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion access as a right of his home state’s residents. 

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Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent. She has produced work for NPR, New England Public Radio, Southern California Public Radio, PRI's The World, Washington Post, Reuters and more.She has a master’s degree in radio journalism from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.She lives in central Phoenix with her husband, two daughters, and ill-behaved cat and dog. Her side-passions include photography, crosswords and hot sauce.