Deb in the Desert: Interior secretary stumps for Joe Biden in Arizona

politics, us news, arizona, swing states 2024, deb in the desert: interior secretary stumps for joe biden in arizona

AP

PHOENIX – Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is just one of many high-level Biden administration figures barnstorming in the Grand Canyon State this month as the campaign highlights the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision this coming week.

At a coffee shop in Phoenix’s mid-century modern Melrose District, Haaland brewed a speech to a group of activists highlighting the president alongside state Sen. Priya Sundareshan and state House Democratic Assistant Minority Leader Oscar De Los Santos.

“As President Biden always says, don’t compare him to the almighty, compare him to the alternative,” Haaland said.

This week marks the second anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade and brought abortion policy choices largely back in the hands of the states, leading to a wide variety of results across the country.

Abortion is a rallying issue for Democrats in Arizona. Still, the big question remains if it will win over voters who are undecided on who to choose for president and in various other down-ballot races. On the Republican side, the primary has largely been immigration and economic policy. Biden won the state by roughly 10,000 votes in 2020, but Trump won the state over former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“We want to make sure all Americans have more freedoms than their parents did,” the secretary added.

The secretary is expected to campaign with Congressman Greg Stanton on Saturday morning, as congressional Democrats have supported codifying provisions in Roe into federal law if Biden wins re-election with a united Congress. Earlier on Friday, Haaland spoke with “Women for Biden-Harris” attendees in the northern Arizona city of Flagstaff.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris will be visiting the Valley on Monday, in which she’s also expected to tackle the topic.

Harris, First Lady Jill Biden, and the president have taken trips to Arizona in recent months. The Post reported that the First Lady held an outreach event to senior citizens where chided concerns about the president’s age and fitness to serve a second term in the White House.

Arizona became ground zero for the abortion debate in the post-Roe era, making it a natural focal point for the Biden team. Currently, there is a 15-week law on the books that bans the procedure in most circumstances after that point, but there will likely be a proposition on the ballot in November to determine if it should be a constitutional right to allow abortion up until “fetal viability.” Opponents of the effort have argued that the proposed language of the amendment would allow for abortions past the 23-25 week mark and spark other issues.

“Let’s be very clear: We have the chance this November to protect in our state constitution our rights to reproductive freedom, but we also have to protect these rights at the national level as well. And that includes the White House,” Sundareshan said.

The headlines came along in the spring when the state Supreme Court ruled in a 4-2 decision to allow a near-total ban on abortion to become enforceable over the 15-week one, as it was a law created in 1864 and re-codified in 1977. After a heated few weeks at the state capitol, the near-total ban was repealed by the legislature and Gov. Katie Hobbs. The timeline of when legislation, like the repeal, can take effect will narrowly came before the September date when the old law could be enforceable.

If voters pass the ballot initiative, then the 15-week law, which was signed into law by former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in early 2022, would be overridden.

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