Florida’s 6-Week Abortion Ban Could Screw Republicans in November

On Monday, the Florida Supreme Court issued a horrifying ruling allowing the state’s six-week abortion ban to go into effect, a move that essentially outlaws the medical procedure there. (To give you an idea of how awful the law is, Donald Trump, who regularly brags about killing Roe v. Wade, called it “a terrible thing and a terrible mistake” last year.) The teeny, tiny silver lining? The court also allowed an amendment that would enshrine abortion rights into the state’s constitution to go on the ballot in November, a turn of events that could tilt the next election in Democrats’ favor.

“We have a new situation here in Florida,” Jayden D’Onofrio, chairman of Future Leaders of Florida, a Democrat-aligned group, told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “Florida is in play.” Once a swing state, Florida has increasingly been reliably red over the last number of years, with Republicans holding a supermajority in the legislature, Ron DeSantis cruising to a second term by nearly 20 points in 2022, and Trump winning there in the last two presidential elections. But following yesterday’s rulings, Democrats now believe they at last have a shot at pulling off what appeared impossible as of last week. “Make no mistake: Florida is not an easy state to win, but it is a winnable one for President Biden,” Joe Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez wrote in a memo in which she noted the state’s “cruel and dangerous abortion ban.” Commenting on the state’s 4.4 million Democrats and the 3.5 million who have no party affiliation, Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida, told the Post: “If they feel strongly about protecting a woman’s right to choose, then at the presidential level, there’s a clear choice there with Biden versus Trump.” (While Trump has criticized the six-week ban—likely because he knows how poorly it will play with voters—he is obviously not a known protector of reproductive rights, having exclusively appointed Supreme Court judges who vowed to overturn Roe, and floating the possibility of a national abortion ban in a second term.)

Democrats believe the six-week ban will also affect races down the ballot, including former Florida representative Debbie Murcasel-Powell’s effort to win Rick Scott’s Senate seat (particularly because Scott has said he would have signed a six-week ban as governor). After polls conducted last month showed 73% of Floridians support the abortion amendment, which requires 60% to pass, Florida Women’s Freedom Coalition executive director Anna Hochkammer told The New York Times, “Supporters tend to be quite firm in their support, while opponents tend to be quite squishy,” she said. “This polls well across all demographics. It’s motivating to young people and women, too. No one can deny that it will shape the voter universe.”

Commenting on the abortion ruling on Monday, a Trump campaign adviser told Politico the ex-president “supports preserving life but has also made clear that he supports states’ rights.” He added: “Where President Trump thinks voters should have the last word, Biden and many Democrats want to allow abortion up until the moment of birth and force taxpayers to pay for it.” (Obviously the claim Biden—or anyone for that matter—want abortion to be legal “up until the moment of birth” is not true at all, but hey, it’s a slight improvement on Trump’s favorite claim that Roe allowed doctors to perform abortions after women gave birth.)

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