Updated Apr 8, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump says abortion should be left to states, doesn't endorse national ban

Former US President Donald Trump during a campaign event in Green Bay, Wisconsin, US, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Former President Trump during a campaign event in Green Bay, Wisconsin on April 2. Photo: Daniel Steinle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former President Trump said Monday that abortion laws should be left to the states to decide.

Why it matters: The presumptive GOP presidential nominee did not take a stance on whether he supports a national limit on abortion, which some of his most vocal conservative allies have urged Trump to support.

  • Trump has frequently dodged questions on the politically charged issue, and his announcement comes after his campaign had floated a 15- or 16-week federal ban on abortion.

Driving the news: "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," Trump said in a video posted on Truth Social.

  • "Many states will be different, many will have a different number of weeks, or some will have more conservative than others and that's what they will be," he said.
  • Trump also said that he is "strongly in favor" of exceptions for rape, incest and life-threatening situations. He also reiterated his support for access to in vitro fertilization.

Zoom in: Trump has repeatedly taken responsibility for the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade in 2022 because he appointed three of the conservative justices who were responsible for the ruling.

  • Trump, a Florida resident, did not share where he stands on Florida's six-week abortion ban, which the state Supreme Court approved last week.

Biden slammed Trump in a statement on Monday, saying that the former president "made it clear once again today that he is – more than anyone in America – the person responsible for ending Roe v. Wade."

  • "Here's what Donald Trump doesn't understand: When he ripped away Roe v. Wade, he ripped away a fundamental right for the women of America that the United States Supreme Court had affirmed and reaffirmed for 50 years," Biden said.
  • "Trump is scrambling," he continued. "He's worried that since he's the one responsible for overturning Roe the voters will hold him accountable in 2024. Well, I have news for Donald. They will."

What they're saying: Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an anti-abortion group, said in a statement Monday that her organization was "deeply disappointed" with Trump's position.

  • "Saying the issue is 'back to the states' cedes the national debate to the Democrats who are working relentlessly to enact legislation mandating abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy," Dannenfelser said.

The big picture: Reproductive rights have proven to be a winning issue for Democrats up and down the ballot — even in red states — following the Supreme Court's 2022 decision to overturn Roe.

  • Democrats have sought to highlight reproductive rights as a political weak spot for Republicans, who have struggled to find a unified message on the issue.

Go deeper: Trump suggests 15-week abortion ban is "very reasonable"

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional context and details from Trump's announcement, as well as reaction to Trump's comments.

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