Trump Declines to Back Nationwide Abortion Ban

Former President Donald Trump has opted not to endorse a nationwide abortion ban, instead asserting that the decision should be left to individual states—a stance that diverges from the desires of many religious conservatives.

“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,” Trump said in on Monday. “Many states will be different… At the end of the day, this is all about the will of the people.”

Trump’s position is likely to disappoint members of his Republican base who have been urging him to advocate for stricter abortion regulations. Trump campaigned on the issue in 2016 and has since become a champion of the anti-abortion movement, but he has wavered on the issue as Democrats have made abortion a central fight in the 2024 presidential election. Democrats continue to hold Trump accountable for the 2022 Supreme Court ruling that overturned the constitutional right to abortion.

In the video, Trump took credit for the Supreme Court’s decision in , saying that he was “proudly the person responsible” for overturning the constitutional right to abortion and commending the three conservative justices he appointed to the Supreme Court for having the “courage to allow this long term hard fought battle to finally end.” While the presumptive Republican presidential nominee previously hinted he might support an abortion ban after a certain number of weeks of pregnancy, possibly 15 or 16, his new position is that the abortion debate belongs in the states.

Critics swiftly responded to Trump’s stance. The president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America argued Monday that by relinquishing a national stance on abortion, Trump was effectively conceding the debate to Democrats and jeopardizing states’ rights. “Unborn children and their mothers deserve national protections and national advocacy from the brutality of the abortion industry,” the group’s president Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.

In nearly two years since the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, several Republican-led states have moved to enact stringent restrictions on abortion, including a six-week ban in Florida that Trump has said was a “terrible mistake.” Other states have implemented regulations limiting the procedure after a certain gestational period, while some Democratic-leaning states have also passed laws or ballot measures to safeguard broader access to abortion.

The abortion issue remains a focal point in the 2024 presidential election, with President Joe Biden championing nationwide abortion access, including through . Democrats have utilized abortion rights to mobilize their base and drive voter turnout in various candidate and elections across the country.