Hours after Florida’s six-week abortion ban took effect, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Sunshine State to lay responsibility for the new law directly on former President Donald Trump and warn a second Trump term would be “even worse” for those who support keeping the practice accessible. 

“As much harm as he has already caused, a second Trump term would be even worse,” the vice president said at a campaign event in Jacksonville on Wednesday. 

What You Need To Know

  • Vice President Kamala Harris visited Jacksonville, Florida on Wednesday, as the state's new ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy takes effect

  • The law includes exceptions for rape, incest and sexual trafficking, as well as further exceptions for the life of the mother, but the law bans abortion after a point before many realize they're pregnant

  • The campaign seeks to lay the blame for the roiling state of abortion across the U.S. at the feet of former President Donald Trump

Harris made the case that Trump – her and President Joe Biden’s likely 2024 rival – would sign a national ban on abortions should he win another four years in the White House, despite the former president’s recent pledge that he would not.  

"We all know this is a fight for freedom," Harris said, adding: "Across our nation, we witness a full-on assault, state-by-state, on reproductive freedom. And understand who's to blame: Former President Donald Trump did this."

“Here’s what a second Trump term looks like: more bans, more suffering, less freedom,” she said. “But we are not going to let that happen.” 

Trump appointed three of the justices who were in the majority of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the decision that reversed Roe v. Wade in June 2022, returning the issue of whether and how much to restrict abortions to states and paving the way for restrictions and bans on the practice in states across the country.  

“And today, this very day at the stroke of midnight, another Trump abortion ban went into effect here in Florida,” Harris said on Wednesday. “As of this morning, four million women in this state woke up with fewer reproductive freedoms than they had last night. This is the new reality under a Trump abortion ban.” 

Florida’s six-week abortion ban, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis one year ago, leaves a 15-week exception for victims of rape, incest and human trafficking, and additional exceptions for fatal fetal abnormalities, the life of the birthing parent or "substantial and irreversable" physical impairment. But the law offers a very short window for a procedure.

A pregnancy is counted from the first day after a woman’s last period. A woman with a regular four-week menstrual cycle then only has two weeks after a missed period to realize they might be pregnant, then go through the process to obtain an abortion procedure. 

“Florida became subject to an abortion ban so extreme it applies before many women even know they are pregnant,” Harris said on Wednesday. “Which, by the way, tells us the extremists who wrote this ban either don't know how a woman's body works or they simply don't care.”

The vice president also criticized how the ban threatens doctors and nurses with criminal prosecution.

In a statement on the ban taking effect, Biden – who traveled to Florida himself last week to highlight the issue – criticized Trump’s response to the topic in a recent interview with TIME magazine.

“Just yesterday, he once again endorsed punishing women for getting the care they need,” Biden said in a statement. “Trump is worried the voters will hold him accountable for the cruelty and chaos he created. He’s right. Trump ripped away the rights and freedom of women in America.” 

In the interview, among other things, Trump suggested that states "might" have to monitor women’s pregnancies to ensure that a pregnancy ban is not being violated, which Harris said is proof that Trump believes it’s "fair game for women to be monitored and punished by the government."

Biden released a video through his reelection campaign about Trump's abortion remarks to TIME, calling them "shocking."

The former president has criticized Florida’s six-week law as a “terrible mistake.”

Democrats have sought to put the issue of reproductive health front and center since Roe’s overturning as the topic has repeatedly proved electorally fruitful for the party. 

Polls show most Americans do not support very restrictive laws on the procedure and Democrats credit the issue, in part, with a stronger-than-expected showing in the 2022 congressional midterm elections.

Since Roe’s overturning, when the issue has appeared on the ballot in a number of states — even ruby red ones like Kansas and Ohio — voters have chosen to keep abortion more widely accessible – a point Harris highlighted on Wednesday.

“And by the way, momentum, momentum is on our side,” Harris said. “ust think about it – since Roe was overturned, every time reproductive freedom has been on the ballot, the people of America voted for freedom.”

While paving the way for the state’s six-week ban to take effect, Florida’s Supreme Court also allowed an initiative that would enshrine abortion protections into the state constitution to appear on the ballot this November. Biden’s reelection camp hopes anger over the six-week restriction and the chance to vote on the ballot initiative will drive Florida voters to the polls this fall and boost Democrats up and down the ballot.

“And this November, up and down the ballot, reproductive freedom is on the ballot and you, the leaders, you, the people, have the power to protect it with your vote,” Harris said on Wednesday. “Donald Trump may think he can take Florida for granted – it is your power that will send Joe Biden and me back to the White House.”

Harris’ stop to the Sunshine State on Tuesday is part of the Biden team’s bid to turn the tide on a state that has shifted solidly to the right in recent cycles. Earlier this month, directly following the state supreme court’s decision on the abortion law, the president’s reelection campaign declared Florida as “winnable” this November.