BREAKING: Trump Says Abortion Will Be Left To The States, Raising Stakes of State Legislative Races

Press Releases

WASHINGTON — The first presidential debate of 2024 is underway, and former President Trump just said that “the states control” abortion. This builds on Trump’s repeated promises to empower Republican-controlled state legislatures to determine every aspect of reproductive freedom – including monitoring pregnancies, prosecuting women who get abortions, and rolling back access to IVF care. Trump has previously promised to “leave everything to the states,” and tonight he made clear he intends to have the MAGA agenda implemented through the states. 

Trump’s anti-woman MAGA agenda is already being carried out in the states since Dobbs made states the true arbiters of reproductive rights. Twenty-five states—all controlled by Republican legislatures—have enacted laws to ban or restrict abortion earlier than the standard previously protected by Roe. Access to contraception is being targeted by Republican-controlled states – OklahomaArizonaWisconsinTennessee, and Missouri have already taken action that threatens or prevents protections for birth control accessibility. More GOP-led states could be empowered to pass sweeping bans on abortion and contraception with Trump’s stamp of approval, and we must take Trump at his word.

The fall of Roe has fundamentally altered the trajectory of reproductive freedoms and placed state legislatures directly on the frontlines of protecting access to abortion and contraception. The stakes couldn’t be clearer – electing Democratic majorities in the states is the strongest path for safeguarding reproductive care. 

Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Sam Paisley issued the following statement:

“The eyes of the nation are on tonight’s presidential debate, and Donald Trump just promised to allow state legislatures to continue their egregious attacks on reproductive freedoms. Since the fall of Roe, state Republicans have wielded their power in the states to attack every facet of reproductive care – from abortion access, to contraception, to IVF. Donald Trump’s MAGA agenda is being enacted in the states, and GOP donors are pouring millions of dollars into state and local-level races to boost the chances of a Trump victory and put in place an army of MAGA allies in state legislatures. 

“Trump and his allies plan to implement their agenda in the states – that is why the DLCC is leaving nothing to chance. We just launched our historic “Summer of the States” campaign to call attention to defeat the hundreds of MAGA Trump loyalists in state legislatures poised to roll back the landscape of freedoms. State Democrats are on the frontlines of combating dangerous extremism that threatens every fundamental freedom we hold dear.”

The DLCC is the official arm of the Democratic Party with the sole mission of building Democratic power in the states and setting the national agenda at the state level. Over the last decade, we have fought cycle-over-cycle to gain a dozen new legislative chamber majorities and we are leading the effort to bring national attention and investment to our ballot level. State legislatures are the building blocks of our democracy and have the closest connections to Americans’ day-to-day lives. From protecting fundamental freedoms and voting rights to growing the middle class, the DLCC and state legislators are moving the Democratic agenda forward and shaping the future of this country.