Biden campaign continues focus on abortion with new ad buy

President Biden’s campaign is launching a new seven-figure ad buy Thursday centered around abortion, a centerpiece issue for his campaign, as it attempts to link restrictive state abortion bans to former President Donald Trump. 

It will run on the two-year anniversary of the leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion on the Dobbs case, which overturned Roe v. Wade and transferred decisions about abortion access to the states. 

The campaign ad, titled “Prosecute,” first shared with CBS News, features an OBGYN physician in Texas talking about how the state’s near-total abortion ban, enacted after the Dobbs decision, forced her to flee the state to get care.

“If Donald Trump is elected, that is the end of a woman’s right to choose. There will be no place to turn. We could lose our rights in every state, even the ones where abortion is currently legal,” says Austin Dennard in the ad. 

The ad begins with a portion of Mr. Trump’s interview with Time Magazine in which he said that it should be up to states to decide whether to prosecute women who receive abortions. 

“The states are going to say,” Trump told Time magazine in the interview, published Tuesday, when asked if he’s “comfortable” with states prosecuting women who get abortions. “It’s irrelevant whether I’m comfortable or not. It’s totally irrelevant, because the states are going to make those decisions.” 

In the interview, Trump also indicated he’d allow states to monitor women’s pregnancies to know if they underwent an abortion procedure. 

The Biden campaign ad begins airing one day after a six-week abortion ban took effect in Florida, as well as a repeal by Arizona’s legislature of an 1864 law that would have enacted a near-total abortion ban in that state. The ad will run in seven battleground states on various cable networks and will also air during the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. 

The focus of the ad underscores the ongoing effort by the Biden campaign to hinge restrictive bans on Trump’s legacy in appointing judges who helped overturn Roe v. Wade. Mr. Biden’s campaign has aired six other television spots related to abortion, according to political advertisement tracking firm AdImpact. 

“He’s saying he approves of states surveilling, prosecuting, and punishing women for receiving reproductive care,” said Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez about Trump, adding that the campaign will “continue to relentlessly remind voters every single day about the very real and horrifying stakes for women this November if Trump has his way.”  

As the Biden campaign intends to mobilize voters through ads, Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to continue her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” tour. CBS News has learned exclusively that Harris will make a May 8 campaign stop in Montgomery County near Philadelphia focused on abortion access. 

Harris has visited Pennsylvania twice this year, but this trip would mark the first time the vice president focuses on abortion in the Keystone state. Her Philadelphia stop comes after her visit to Florida Wednesday to discuss the state’s six-week abortion ban.

“Joe Biden and I have a different view,” Harris pitched to Floridians. “We believe no politician should ever come between a woman and a doctor.” 

Throughout her tour stops, Harris has blamed abortion bans on Trump, referring to him as the “architect of this health care crisis.” Harris warns her crowds that a second Trump term would be worse, claiming he would sign a national abortion ban if elected in November. 

Trump showed support for a national abortion ban bill during his term in the White House, and as a candidate, he suggested in an interview last month that he could potentially support a 15-week national abortion ban. But in recent weeks he’s punted on whether he’d sign a national ban, and has said abortion access should be left up to the states. 

On Wednesday he said in an interview with Fox 6 in Wisconsin that he is “not signing a national abortion ban. That’s Democrat misinformation.”

In a response to the ad, Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt said that Trump “has long been consistent in supporting the rights of states to make decisions on abortion.” 

“Joe Biden and the Democrats are radically out of touch with the majority of Americans in their support for abortion up until birth and even after birth and forcing taxpayers to fund it,” she added. 

Mr. Biden and Democrats do not support late-term abortions, though Republicans point to his and other Democrats’ support for the Women’s Health Protection Act. This bill, introduced in 2021, looked to restore the limits under Roe v. Wade (abortion until fetal viability), but has exceptions when the life and health of a mother is at risk. 

Asked during a press call in April what limits he does support, Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler said Mr. Biden believes “we should restore the protections in Roe.” 

“He’s been pretty clear and pretty consistent in that. And so we’re not going to fall in any traps that Republicans might want to lay, because that’s so far from reality,” Tyler added. 

According to the Guttmacher Institute, since Roe v. Wade was overturned, 21 states have enacted either near-total abortion bans, or bans in the first 18 weeks of pregnancy.   

A CBS News battleground state poll of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin showed that at least 60% of voters in each state were following the news about restrictive abortion bans in Arizona and Florida.

However, not all voters blame Trump for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. In Wisconsin, where current state law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, 40% blamed Trump for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the poll found, while 44% didn’t give him credit or blame. 

Voters in these three competitive states also ranked other issues, such as the economy, democracy and crime, as higher factors than abortion. 

During a rally in Freeland, Michigan, Wednesday, Trump touted the overturning of Roe v. Wade and said, “a lot of controversy has now been taken out.”

“You’ve seen what’s taken place over the last period of a couple of months,”  Trump said. “People are getting together and they’re deciding within their own states.”

“You have to fight for what’s in your heart and what’s the right thing to do, but remember, you also have to get elected,” he added, in a message to other Republicans about their messaging on abortion. 

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