Trump Plays Up Anti-Abortion Credentials Following Recent Criticism

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday attempted to play up his anti-abortion credentials amid criticism of his recent comments that urged Republicans to get realistic about the issue.

As he seeks the Republican nomination for president in 2024, Trump has attempted to walk a fine line on the issue of abortion. Having appointed three Republican justices to the Supreme Court during his presidency, he is credited with paving the way for the overturn of Roe v. Wade last summer, a milestone victory for the conservative political movement. The decision has proven to be a double-edged sword, however, as the backlash to the end of federal abortion rights and the ensuing restrictions enacted by red states have been seen as major forces pushing voters away from the GOP.

The party underperformed in last year’s midterm elections, losing a Senate seat to the Democrats and winning the House by a razor-thin margin, despite projections indicating that it could win both easily. Abortion rights were frequently cited by voters as a major factor in their decision to reject the GOP. Special elections concerning the matter in various states have also uniformly gone in favor of protecting abortion rights, firmly putting Republicans on the losing side of a popular issue.

In a post to his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump urged Republicans last week to embrace exceptions for abortion, warning that extreme positions on the issue could continue to cost them races in 2024. During a recent Meet the Press interview, he also decried Florida’s recent six-week abortion ban “a terrible thing,” prompting backlash from some conservatives online.

trump further abortion comments
Donald Trump is seen after announcing his 2024 presidential campaign. Trump on Saturday attempted to play up his anti-abortion credentials after recent criticism accused him of being soft on the issue.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

On Saturday, Trump once again took to social media, seeking to highlight his anti-abortion credentials, while still pressing the GOP to embrace exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

“Pro lifers had absolutely zero status on the subject of abortion until I came along,” the former president wrote on Truth Social. “For 52 years everyone ‘talked,’ but got nothing. I GOT IT DONE! There would be no talk of a six week ban, or anything else, without me. Roe v. Wade allowed the killing of a baby at any time, including the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th month, and even after birth. They, therefore, are the RADICALS, not us, and now, because of our Supreme Court victory, the power has shifted and, for the first time, those fighting for the Pro Life movement have been given tremendous Power on this issue.”

He continued: “Before our victory, they had nothing, and they will have nothing again if we don’t win ELECTIONS. Like Ronald Reagan, I believe in the three Exceptions for Rape, Incest, and the Life of the Mother. You have to follow your HEART, but without the Exceptions, it will be very hard to win Elections. The six week ban on abortion, among other things, like his fight against Social Security & MediCare, killed the DeSanctus Campaign!”

As in his previous posts, Trump emphasized late-term abortions being permissible under Roe. While not untrue, such statements overstate how widespread such procedures are, and why they are done at all. Third-trimester procedures make up roughly 1 percent of all abortions, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The majority of that percentage are undertaken in response to the discovery of medical risks, including to the life of the mother or the fetus if the pregnancy is continued.

In prior comments to Newsweek, representatives for Trump dismissed recent ads from a PAC affiliated with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis‘ campaign attacking the former president for his abortion comments.

“Ron DeSantis is losing his grip on reality because he knows he’s dropping like a rock and failing badly,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung wrote to Newsweek in response to the ad. “From Iowa to New Hampshire to Nevada to South Carolina, the more people who get to know DeSantis, the more they are turned off by his personality—or lack thereof—because he hasn’t shown any indication he can beat Crooked Joe Biden.”

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