The Sunday Telegraph

Kamala Harris accuses Trump of fuelling states’ abortion bans

- By Rozina Sabur DEPUTY US EDITOR

KAMALA HARRIS blamed Donald Trump for Arizona’s revival of a 160-year-old near-total abortion ban, describing the Republican presidenti­al candidate as the “architect” of a US reproducti­ve healthcare crisis.

The US vice-president travelled to Tucson, the state’s second-largest city, days after Arizona’s highest court paved the way for one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country by upholding an 1864 law.

“They have turned back the clock to the 1800s to take away a woman’s most fundamenta­l right,” Ms Harris told a mostly female audience.

“Former president Donald Trump did this,” she said. “Shame!” came the response from the crowd.

Polls show abortion is one of the few issues on which Joe Biden polls better than Mr Trump and Democrats hope to energise otherwise apathetic voters by working to put reproducti­ve rights on the ballot in swing states.

A New York Times/Siena College Poll yesterday found the US president has erased much of his Republican opponent’s early lead as 2020 Biden voters coalesce behind him despite lingering doubts around the 81-year-old president’s frailty.

The poll found Mr Trump and Mr Biden virtually tied on 46 and 45 per cent, respective­ly, a marked improvemen­t for Mr Biden from Mr Trump’s five-point lead in February.

Arizona’s decision this week has particular significan­ce for November’s general election.

The critical state, which Mr Biden narrowly carried in 2020, could determine not just control of the White House, but the US Senate.

Mr Trump, 77, has attempted to straddle a difficult divide over abortion by saying earlier this week that the issue should be left to the states.

In the aftermath of the Arizona ruling, which would outlaw all abortions save those where a mother’s life is at risk, Mr Trump backpedall­ed, saying the state “went too far”.

“Enough with the gaslightin­g,” Ms Harris told the crowd crammed into a hall in Tucson of Mr Trump’s shift as she unveiled a combative approach to take on Mr Trump.

“Here’s what a second Trump term looks like: more bans, more suffering and less freedom,” she said.

“How do we know? Just look at his record,” she added, quipping: “Y’all know I’m a former prosecutor, just look at the facts.”

Ms Harris met a receptive audience in Tucson, where some wore “women for Biden” campaign t-shirts and badges.

Others came dressed in pink and green – the colours of the vice-president’s university sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Sundi Williams, the president of the sorority’s local chapter, said it was “surreal” to meet with Ms Harris privately ahead of the event.

“Her speech was truthful, honest, empowering, inspiratio­nal. And just the type of talk to light a fire under not only Arizonans, but this nation,” she said. “So we would not be anywhere else but here today.”

‘They have turned back the clock to the 1800s to take away a woman’s most fundamenta­l right’

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