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    Democratic candidate calls Florida Supreme Court abortion decisions a ‘game changer’ in Senate race

    By Julia Manchester,


    Florida Democratic Senate candidate and former Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Fla.) called two key decisions on abortion from the state’s Supreme Court a “game changer” for the Sunshine State’s Senate race in November.

    In a memo exclusively seen by The Hill on Tuesday, Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign said incumbent Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) was “vulnerable” on abortion and tied him to the state’s six-week ban on the procedure. Additionally, her campaign hit Scott over access to in vitro fertilization (IVF), saying he would take steps to “jeopardize” access to the process.

    The memo comes less than a day after the state’s highest court issued two rulings , one of which upheld Florida’s 15-week abortion ban but gave the green light to a ballot measure that would protect access to abortion in the state if passed in November.

    “The rulings ensure that abortion rights will be front and center on the minds of Floridians as they head to the polls this November, and Rick Scott’s support for both a national abortion ban and Florida’s cruel and extreme abortion ban are an existential threat to his reelection bid,” the memo reads. “Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is taking the fight to Rick Scott on abortion rights.”

    Scott responded to the rulings in a statement Monday, painting Mucarsel-Powell as extreme on abortion.

    “We must work hard to make adoption more affordable, and I’ll always protect IVF, an issue that’s important to me and my family, as well as countless Floridians,” Scott said in a statement. “Floridians also agree that there should be some reasonable limits placed on abortion.”

    “Sadly, my opponent opposes ANY limits on abortion, allowing it even after a baby can feel pain and suck their thumb, even up to the baby’s due date,” he continued. “She is ok with a baby’s skull being crushed at 9 months and ok with a newborn baby being put in the corner crying and left to die. That’s what extremism looks like.”

    While Florida Democrats say the decision will galvanize voters to turn out for them in November, Scott will be a tough opponent to beat. The senator is the state’s former governor and enjoys widespread name ID.

    The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as “likely Republican.”

    In an interview with The Hill following the decision Monday, Mucarsel-Powell said the abortion issue “unites” voters.

    “We’ve seen time and time again that when abortion is on the ballot, it brings voters out,” she said.

    Democrats and abortion rights advocates applauded the approval of the ballot measure Monday, noting recent Democratic victories related to abortion at the state level in Republican-leaning states. Last week, Democrats flipped a state-House seat in deep-red Alabama by running on the issue. Last year, abortion rights advocates in Ohio voted to enshrine abortion access in the state’s constitution.

    Mucarsel-Powell is not the only Democrat seeking to capitalize on the issue in her race. Abortion-related measures are on the ballot in Maryland, Montana and Arizona, which all have closely watched Senate races this cycle.

    President Biden’s reelection campaign also said it saw opportunity stemming from the decision in the state, releasing their own memo Monday.

    “With an abortion amendment officially on the ballot this November in Florida, President Biden and Vice President Harris and their commitment to fighting back against Donald Trump and Rick Scott’s attacks on reproductive freedom will help mobilize and expand the electorate in the state, given the overwhelming majority of Floridians support abortion rights,” wrote Julie Chávez Rodríguez, Biden’s campaign manager.

    “And Florida Republicans will be forced to defend their cruel, indefensible support of this abortion ban,” Rodriguez added.

    For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.

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