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The Hill
The Hill
16 Feb 2024
Brett Samuels

NextImg:Trump campaign pushes back at story he backs 16-week abortion ban in private

The Trump campaign is pushing back at a news story about former President Trump’s stance on abortion, but it did not contradict its main contention that Trump has privately indicated he supports the idea of a ban on abortion after 16 weeks of pregnancy.

The New York Times reported Trump has told advisers and allies that he favors a 16-week ban on abortion that includes exceptions for cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. Democrats immediately seized on the report as evidence Trump would push for a national abortion ban if he wins reelection.

In a subsequent statement, the Trump campaign did not directly address the former president’s reported comments, instead offering a vague statement saying Trump would “sit down with both sides and negotiate a deal that everyone will be happy with. 

“President Trump appointed strong Constitutionalist federal judges and Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and sent the decision back to the states, which others have tried to do for over 50 years,” campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said in a statement, which referred to the article as “fake news.”

She went on to attack President Biden and Democrats for supporting “radical on-demand” abortion, though Biden has explicitly said he does not want abortion on demand.

The Times reported that Trump has said in private he wants to wait until the end of the GOP primary to publicly share his views on an abortion ban in order to avoid alienating social conservatives who make up a healthy portion of the primary electorate.

Trump won the Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada primary contests, and he is leading in the polls elsewhere as he appears on track to become the party nominee.

Trump reportedly told one aide he likes the idea of a 16-week ban because “It’s even. It’s four months,” according to the report.

Trump has over the past year repeatedly dodged when asked whether he would sign a national abortion ban if reelected, and he has said he supports exceptions that allow abortion in cases of rape, incest and for the life of the mother.

When asked during a January Fox News town hall to reassure a voter that he would fully protect the rights of unborn children, Trump demurred and noted it was important to win elections.

Trump has simultaneously said his appointment of three conservative Supreme Court justices paved the way for the end of Roe v. Wade and argued that he deserves credit for the overturning of the precedent that guaranteed abortion access for decades. During the 2016 campaign, Trump at one point suggested women who had abortions should be punished.

Anti-abortion groups were quick to praise Trump’s reported comments Friday.

“We strongly agree with President Trump on protecting babies from abortion violence at 16 weeks when they feel pain,” SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said. “A majority of Americans support this compassionate position.”

Democrats have for months warned Trump would institute a national abortion ban if elected, and his reported comments are sure to provide additional fodder for that argument.

“Donald Trump is running to rip away your rights. Kamala and I are running to protect them,” Biden said in a statement through his campaign on Friday. “The choice is very simple. Kamala and I will restore Roe v. Wade and make it once again the law of the land. Donald Trump will ban abortion nationwide. That is what is at stake this November.”

Updated at 3 p.m.