Trump says abortion law should be left in the hands of the states

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Former President Donald J. Trump said in a video statement Monday that abortion rights should be left up to the states, comments that came after months of conflicting signals on an issue he and his advisers worried could cost him dearly in the elections.

Trump said his view was that states should decide through legislation, “and whatever they decide should be the law of the land and, in this case, the law of the state.” But he added that he was “strongly in favor of exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”

“Many states will be different, many will have a different number of weeks or some will be more conservative than others, and that’s what they will be,” Trump said in the video, which aware on his Truth Social website.

“At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of the will of the people,” he added, falsely claiming that “all the jurists” on “both sides” of the political aisle had wanted Roe v. Wade will finish. “That’s where we are now and that’s what we want: the will of the people.”

Politically, Trump’s announcement that abortion should be left to the states will allow Democrats to tag him with some of the strictest abortion laws in the country, including a six-week ban in Florida that Trump said was a ” “terrible mistake.” .” Trump did not address in his statement the possibility of a national ban, which he has privately discussed supporting.

Trump’s comments underscored how Republicans across the country are grappling with their approach to abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, a few months before the midterm elections. Shortly after the Trump video surfaced, President Biden’s campaign aides were

In the video, Trump said he was “proudly the person responsible” for overturning Roe and eliminating the constitutional right to abortion after nearly 50 years. Trump falsely claimed that “all jurists, on both sides, wanted and in fact demanded” that Roe be ended.

He then falsely claimed that Democrats wanted babies to be “executed after birth.”

For months, Trump has debated with advisers what he should say about abortion to prevent Democrats from using the issue against him in November, as they successfully did to outperform Republicans in the 2022 midterms.

Some anti-abortion activists had pressured Trump to support a federal ban on abortion at 15 weeks, to set a national minimum standard and block late-term abortions in Democratic-controlled states.

As recently as February, Trump had said in private His advisers liked the idea of ​​a 16-week national abortion ban with three exceptions: in cases of rape or incest, or to save the mother’s life, according to two people with direct knowledge of their deliberations. He made the comments while trying to fend off his last major primary rival, Nikki Haley, in her home state of South Carolina.

He told aides that he wanted to wait until the Republican presidential primaries were over to publicly discuss his views because he did not want to distance himself from social conservatives before securing the nomination, the two people said.

Trump, who has approached abortion transactionally (and talked about it clumsily) since his political career began in 2015, told aides that he liked the idea of ​​a 16-week federal abortion ban because it was a number round.

“Do you know what I like about 16?” Trump told one of these people, who was given anonymity, to describe a private conversation. “It’s even. “It’s four months.”

The Trump campaign called the information “fake news” at the time, but Trump made it clear publicly that he was considering supporting a 15-week ban, and his advisers issued statements saying it would achieve a national consensus.

Democrats immediately seized on the report about Trump’s plans and said Trump favored a national abortion ban. The pushback influenced his decision not to announce a national limit, according to people who spoke to Trump afterward. Some campaign aides tried to distance Trump from the Times’ report about what he had been saying privately.

Trump’s statement Monday disappointed conservatives who had hoped for more restrictive efforts nationwide.

“We are deeply disappointed in President Trump’s position,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. “Unborn children and their mothers deserve national protection and national defense against the brutality of the abortion industry. The Dobbs decision clearly allows both the states and Congress to act.”

And he added: “Saying that the issue is ‘going back to the states’ cedes the national debate to the Democrats.”

Well into adulthood, Trump described himself as “very pro-choice” before announcing that he was “pro-life” when considering a run for the Republican nomination in 2011. In the 2016 election, he secured evangelical support by promising to choose his Supreme Court justices from a slate of conservative judges who would be expected to favor overturning Roe.

But after the Supreme Court did what Trump had designed it to do, in June 2022, he told his advisers that the abortion issue could seriously hurt Republicans in that year’s midterm elections. When the results came in (disappointing for Republicans), Trump was privately discussing the issue as if he were a television pundit, taking credit for being right about how abortion would cost Republicans politically.

Trump was scathing in his private assessments of Republicans, who he thought were too “tough” in their positions on abortion, according to his advisers. He often criticized two failed Republican gubernatorial candidates, Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Tudor Dixon in Michigan, for being too tough on abortion and not supporting enough exceptions.

Still, while Trump has avoided taking a clear public position on abortion, he often highlights his role in appointing the three conservative Supreme Court justices who were instrumental in bringing it about.

Anti-abortion activists are hopeful that Trump will be as willing to let them shape policy in a second administration as he did when he took office in 2017.

“You should follow your heart on this issue,” Trump said in his video. “But remember, you must also win elections to restore our culture and, indeed, to save our country, which is currently, very sadly, a nation in decline.”

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