“As with every election year, all eyes are on Florida.”
That was the message regarding a potential future fight for abortion rights at Wednesday’s Gwen Graham event in Miami.
Graham gathered with supporters to accept the endorsement of NARAL, one of the nation’s largest pro-choice political action committees.
NARAL National Political Director Nicole Brener-Schmitz spoke at the event, emphasizing the group’s focus on Florida. She called the gubernatorial race “one of the most important elections in the 2018 cycle.”
That’s due in part to the recent retirement announcement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.
His decision to retire led some to fear a justice appointed by President Donald Trump would join the court’s other four conservative justices in overturning Roe v. Wade. Indeed, Graham spoke out about that concern in the days following his announcement.
On Monday, Trump announced Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his selection to replace Kennedy.
Graham responded to that selection on Twitter, writing “Florida: this is not a drill. @realDonaldTrump has nominated another Supreme Court justice who does not believe women have the right to make our own health care decisions. If Brett Kavanaugh is appointed to the court, Roe v. Wade is gravely at risk of being overturned.”
She followed up at Monday’s event, saying, “So where does the fight turn to after that? It turns to the states. And I as governor, the first woman governor of Florida, will make sure that we do not return to the days of backroom abortions.”
Brener-Schmitz also explained why NARAL chose to endorse Graham over her Democratic primary opponents.
“Gwen has been a tireless and a passionate advocate for women’s rights to choose from the start.” Brener-Schmitz referenced Graham’s support in Congress for the Equal Rights Amendment and opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood.
She also attacked state Republicans for passing laws attempting to restrict abortion access in the past. Brener-Schmitz accused Republicans of “making attacking our rights their priority over helping hardworking women get ahead.”
Graham also had strong words for the leading Republican candidates for governor, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. “I’m going to put a stop to both of you,” she said.
Graham added, “A woman’s right to have control over her own reproductive decisions is on the line.”
She promised to block any efforts to reduce abortion access for women. “Any bill that limits the right to choose that comes across my desk, I will veto it immediately.”
Graham is competing with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Palm Beach real estate billionaire Jeff Greene, Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King, and former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Recent polling has showed Levine and Graham at the head of the field but with large numbers of undecided voters.