The Washington Post reported Thursday that a Trump campaign spokesman said the former president believes abortion issues should be decided solely at the state level.
“President Donald J. Trump believes that the Supreme Court, led by the three Justices which he supported, got it right when they ruled this is an issue that should be decided at the State level,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said, according to the Post. “Republicans have been trying to get this done for 50 years, but were unable to do so. President Trump, who is considered the most pro-life President in history, got it done. He will continue these policies when reelected to the White House. Like President Reagan before him, President Trump supports exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”
The Post reported as well:
Former president Donald Trump has barely spoken about the issue, telling advisers that he believes it is a difficult one for Republicans and not something he should focus his time on. His campaign did not directly answer whether Trump agreed with the six-week ban in Florida or what policies he would support nationally but instead said Trump believes the issue should be left up to individual states. “States’ rights,” Trump has said privately when advisers have floated the issue, adding his assessment that they should not talk about it.
National pro-life leaders and commentators reacted quickly to the reported comments.
Students for Life Action President Kristan Hawkins said that former President Donald Trump’s “failure to understand a way forward on abortion” was a “troubling sign” that he may not be able to lead on the issue.
“In his book, The Art of the Deal, former President Donald Trump wrote, ‘Deals work best when each side gets something it wants from the other,’” Hawkins said in a statement. “Trump still wants the votes of the Pro-Life Generation, but it’s hard to see what he brings to the table given his waiving support defending innocent life at every level of government.”
If you don’t understand killing children is a federal issue, you shouldn’t be running for federal office.
Looking at you, @realDonaldTrump.
— Kristan Hawkins (@KristanHawkins) April 20, 2023
Hawkins added that when the Supreme Court overturned Roe in Dobbs, “abortion as an issue returned to the American people.”
“Abortion is a federal, state, and local issue, for leaders ready to fight on the human rights issue of our day,” she said. “Former President Trump seems determined to write a new book, How to Kill a Deal, as he signals to those who once supported him that he may not be up to the task of protecting all American lives in law and in service.”
Across the country, legislation that respects and protects life from the first detection of a heartbeat is gaining ground, but there is a lot of room for action in Congress, as the Biden Administration illustrates every day. Anyone who doesn’t understand that abortion is a federal issue hasn’t been paying attention. But the Pro-Life Generation is watching to see who will champion mothers and their children, born and preborn. Everyone running for president needs to have a vision for how to defend life as early as possible, as the stake are truly life and death.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said the Trump campaign’s reported comments indicate they would not support the pro-life agenda on the federal level.
"President Trump’s assertion that the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion solely to the states is a completely inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision and is a morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate to hold.
— SBA Pro-Life America (@sbaprolife) April 20, 2023
“President Trump’s assertion that the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion solely to the states is a completely inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision and is a morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate to hold,” Dannenfelser asserted, adding:
Life is a matter of human rights, not states’ rights. Saying that the issue should only be decided at the states is an endorsement of abortion up until the moment of birth, even brutal late-term abortions in states like California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. The only way to save these children is through federal protections, such as a 15-week federal minimum standard when the unborn child can feel excruciating pain.
“We will oppose any presidential candidate who refuses to embrace at a minimum a 15-week national standard to stop painful late-term abortions while allowing states to enact further protections,” the pro-life leader stated.
While Trump was president, Dannenfelser referred to him as “the most pro-life president our nation has ever seen,” and described his pro-life accomplishments as “groundbreaking.”
In January 2020, Trump became the first president in U.S. history to speak at the March for Life on the National Mall.
See you on Friday…Big Crowd! https://t.co/MFyWLG4HFZ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2020
The former president had also declared January 22, the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, to be “National Sanctity of Human Life Day,” a day when the country “proudly and strongly reaffirms our commitment to protect the precious gift of life at every stage, from conception to natural death.”
“Reverence for every human life, one of the values for which our Founding Fathers fought, defines the character of our Nation,” Trump said in his proclamation. “Today, it moves us to promote the health of pregnant mothers and their unborn children.”
Other conservative leaders reacted to the Trump campaign’s comments as reported by the Post.
Author and journalist Matt Walsh responded to American Principles Project Policy Director Jon Schweppe’s post that the Trump campaign’s comments, in which they “committed to ‘no federal role’ on the issue of abortion” means “he’s pro-choice now.”
As I said a while ago, this primary will be different because Trump is attacking his main opponent *from the Left.* The Trump team in just the last week has come out against the Bud Light boycott, taken Disney’s side in their fight with DeSantis, and now this. https://t.co/N0D3rgPJpu
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 20, 2023
“As I said a while ago, this primary will be different because Trump is attacking his main opponent *from the Left,*” Walsh stated. “The Trump team in just the last week has come out against the Bud Light boycott, taken Disney’s side in their fight with DeSantis, and now this.”
“As for this issue, it is just absolutely insane to suggest that states should have the right to legalize the murder of fully developed infant children, which is what many blue states have done,” Walsh added. “If they go for infanticide next will that also be a ‘states rights’ issue? Ridiculous.”
As for this issue, it is just absolutely insane to suggest that states should have the right to legalize the murder of fully developed infant children, which is what many blue states have done. If they go for infanticide next will that also be a “states rights” issue? Ridiculous
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 20, 2023
The Star News Network reached out to the Trump campaign to confirm the comments reported at The Post, but received no immediate response.
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]