Trump Says Abortion Should Be Left To States Despite Recently Floating National Ban

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Former President Donald Trump released a video Monday declaring his new views on abortion policy. He did not announce support for a national abortion ban, and instead stated that the issue should remain in the hands of individual states.

While Trump took credit for the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade, eliminating federal protections for abortion, the former president and presumptive 2024 Republican nominee did not call for further restrictions: “My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land. In this case, the law of the state,” he said.

Last month, Trump signaled he intended to support a 15-week national abortion ban, saying that “people are agreeing on 15.” The New York Times had previously reported Trump was weighing a 16-week ban, explaining to people that it’s a nice, round number. Most House Republican lawmakers belong to a caucus that recently endorsed a 15-week national abortion ban.

“Many people have asked me what my position is on abortion and abortion rights, especially since I was proudly the person responsible for the ending of something that all legal scholars — both sides — wanted and, in fact, demanded be ended: Roe v. Wade,” Trump said in a video posted early Monday on Truth Social, falsely claiming that conservative attacks against Roe had universal support.

He did not explicitly clarify whether he would support federal legislation limiting abortion access after a certain gestation limit, despite his recent messaging on the subject.

Trump did, however, attack Democrats as having “radical” views on abortion and falsely claiming that the pro-choice movement supports “abortion up to an even beyond the ninth month [of pregnancy.] The concept of having an abortion in the later months, and even execution after birth […] is unacceptable and almost everyone agrees with that.”

“You must follow your heart on this issue but remember, you must also win elections,” Trump said, adding: “Like Ronald Reagan, I am strongly in favor of exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.”

The former president also clarified that he opposes restrictions on access to fertility treatments such as in-vitro fertilization, or IVF, which was temporarily banned in Alabama earlier this year following a decision by the Alabama Supreme Court finding that IVF embryos are people in the eyes of the law.

Several Republican-led states have enacted abortion bans with no exceptions at all. Later this month, the Supreme Court — where Trump built a 6-3 conservative supermajority — will hear oral arguments in a case from Idaho Republicans arguing that states should be able to block hospitals from providing emergency abortion care, and calling for an end to federal requirements that hospitals provide the procedure if it’s necessary to stabilize a mother’s health.

While Trump bragged about his role in overturning Roe, the end of federal abortion guarantees has become both a health care quagmire for patients and an electoral disaster for the GOP. In virtually every state where abortion rights have been put on the ballot, Republicans have been handily defeated. In red states that have attempted to further restrict access to comprehensive reproductive health care — or where trigger bans went into effect in the aftermath of Roe — studies have already shown an increase in adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Caught between pressure from conservative groups to further curtail abortion access on a national level, and the reality that such policies are vastly unpopular with voters, Trump has waffled on his stance in recent months. As previously reported by Rolling Stone, Trump has privately complained to allies and advisors that Republicans are “getting killed on abortion,” and his team has even floated running him as an abortion “moderate” in the 2024 election cycle.

While Trump seems willing to say anything to try and win over voters skeptical of his established track record on reproductive rights, what he will actually do is another matter. As Rolling Stone has reported, the former president’s allies are deeply invested in the weaponization of existing laws to further restrict access to abortion and abortion medication — no matter what Trump says.

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