Former President Donald Trump has upset American pro-life groups by describing Florida’s ban on abortion from the moment a heartbeat is detected, as a “terrible mistake” during a major interview on national television.
During the Meet The Press interview he also refused to commit to protecting babies after 15-weeks gestation or any other number of weeks, saying some Republicans needed to compromise. Mr. Trump also repeatedly declined to say whether he would support a federal ban on abortion, although he conceded: “from a legal standpoint, I think it’s probably better” to be handled at the state level.
The former president said. “I think the Republicans speak very inarticulately about this subject. You will win on this issue when you come up with the right number of weeks because Democrats don’t want to be radical on the issue, most of them, some do.”
The Associated Press reports he has approached abortion from a political stance, saying that the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade gave conservatives room to negotiate new restrictions. He has argued Republicans’ push for abortion restrictions hurt the party in the 2022 mid-term elections and that Republican candidates need to do a better job of explaining the issue.
Mr. Trump may also have to do better at explaining his stance to some of his supporters. Following the interview, the country’s largest pro-life organisation, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. which backs a national ban on abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy, released a statement saying anything less restrictive “makes no sense.”
“We’re at a moment where we need a human rights advocate, someone who is dedicated to saving the lives of children and serving mothers in need. Every single candidate should be clear on how they plan to do that,” said its president Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“Laws protecting the unborn are not a ‘terrible mistake,’” said Alliance Defending Freedom CEO and President Kristen Waggoner, adding that: “They are the hallmark of a just and moral society. Governors who protect life should be applauded, not attacked.”
Live Action’s founder and president, Lila Rose, decried the former Commander-in-Chief’s remarks as “pathetic and unacceptable. Trump is actively attacking the very pro-life laws made possible by Roe’s overturning. Heartbeat laws have saved thousands of babies. But Trump wants to compromise on babies’ lives so pro-abortion Democrats ‘like him.’ Trump should not be the GOP nominee.”
CatholicVote President Brian Burch said that the former president’s remarks have “sparked concerns among Catholics over whether he is committed to leading on this issue in the way he did during his first term. Pro-life Catholic voters helped deliver him the White House in 2016, and a record number of votes in 2020. He cannot expect to win again without these same voters.”
The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh described Mr. Trump’s remark as “an awful answer from a moral perspective [and] stupid politically. You can’t win over Democrats by going squishy on this issue. Republicans have tried that brilliant strategy for decades and accomplished exactly nothing by it. Defend life clearly and powerfully and unequivocally. That’s the only way.”
Some pro-life supporters like American Principles Project’s Terry Schilling pushed for conservatives to hold their fire and wait to hear what type of protections for the unborn that the former president actually supports. “Let’s at least see what national limit he backs before the hysterical takes over,” he tweeted.
The Daily Signal reports Mr. Trump has described himself as the most pro-life US president in history, and many conservatives agreed. He orchestrated the overturning of Roe v. Wade with his Supreme Court appointments. Twenty-five million women of childbearing age now live in states where abortions are more difficult to access than before that ruling.
Mr. Trump was the first sitting president to attend the national March for Life. He appointed multiple pro-life federation judges; signed a law to protect babies born alive after an abortion procedure; and cut federal funding to abortion providers.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted in June found that 73% of all US adults believe abortion should be allowed up to six weeks of pregnancy. About half of them say abortions should be permitted up to 15 weeks.
So far the issue has failed to put a dent in Mr. Trump’s runaway lead in all polls on the race to be the Republican nominee for president in 2024, with up to 60% of voters supporting him. However, pollsters have him neck and neck with President Biden in the battle for the White House which may have been a factor in his abortion comments.
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