Trump, GOP scramble to contain abortion ‘earthquake’

First came the Florida state Supreme Court decision allowing a six-week abortion ban to go forward. Then, it was Arizona’s state Supreme Court bombshell decision restoring an 1864 law effectively banning all abortions, with exceptions only for the life of the mother.

Not long after Donald Trump said the issue should be left to the states, the GOP was reeling Wednesday from the fallout — acknowledging vulnerabilities on the twin issues of abortion and in vitro fertilization virtually all across the map.

Even Trump conceded Wednesday the two rulings posed problems for the party, telling reporters in Atlanta that the Arizona decision went too far.

“Florida is probably going to change,” he said. “Arizona is definitely going to change, everybody wants that to happen.” Later, at a Chick-fil-A, Trump would not take a definitive position when asked whether physicians should be punished for administering abortions.

“Let that be to the states,” he said. “Everything we’re doing now is states, and states’ rights.”

The one-two punch of both Sun Belt decisions will have seismic implications for campaigns up and down the ballot in the run-up to November, and Republicans were scrambling to contain the fallout by distancing themselves from an issue that still animates whole swaths of the GOP.

“Republicans were on offense, they won constantly on this,” said Doug Heye, a veteran Republican strategist. “Now, post-Dobbs, the situation is reversed. Republicans are having to react, and they don’t know where they’re going to have to react … They’re constantly responding, and the conversation is going to revolve around those places where the restrictions are the strictest.”