Donald Trump's New Abortion Statement Doesn't Answer 3 Key Questions

A new video from the former president eclipsed pressing political questions that his party badly wants to evade ahead of the November election.

Donald Trump’s new comments on abortion on Monday drew the ire of social conservatives after he suggested that it should be left up to the states to decide how to handle the hot-button issue, which has energized Democrats and put Republicans on the defensive ahead of November’s presidential election.

“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,” the presumptive GOP nominee said in a video posted to his social media website, Truth Social.

“At the end of the day, this is all about the will of the people,” he added. “You must follow your heart, or in many cases, your religion or your faith. Do what’s right for your family and do what’s right for yourself.”

But Trump’s statement, which he released after months of flip-flopping on the issue, leaves plenty unsaid about pressing political questions that his party badly wants to evade, due to the unpopularity of restricting access to abortion nationwide.

It’s why Trump has been so hesitant to embrace Republican legislation banning abortion after 15 weeks, even though he was the one responsible for engineering a Supreme Court that made it possible in the first place.

Would Trump sign an abortion ban if one passed in Congress?

He doesn’t say.

The former president on Monday simply described the current state of play on abortion, in which “the states will determine by vote or legislation” their own policies.

Many GOP-controlled states have already moved to sharply restrict abortions or ban them entirely. Trump’s allies in Congress want to go even further by banning the procedure nationwide, noting that the 2022 Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade, left open that possibility.

“Dobbs does not require that conclusion legally and the pro-life movement has always been about the wellbeing of the unborn child ― not geography,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) noted in a statement on Monday, after saying he “respectfully” disagreed with Trump on the matter.

How will Trump vote on Florida’s abortion referendum?

He doesn’t say.

Trump is registered to vote in Florida, where voters will have an opportunity to vote on a pro-choice referendum in November. The measure seeks to guarantee access to abortion care up to fetal viability, which is usually around 24 weeks. Republican leaders in the state have vowed to fight it tooth and nail.

Trump also hasn’t weighed in on the state’s six-week abortion ban, which is set to take effect in less than a month.

Would he seek to ban the abortion pill?

He doesn’t say.

Republicans and social conservatives sought to prohibit or severely restrict access to abortion pills in a far-fetched case before the Supreme Court last month ― which, given comments from even some conservative justices, will likely be dropped for lack of standing to sue. But the court’s two most conservative justices dropped some breadcrumbs for the anti-abortion movement during the hearing, suggesting that abortion could be effectively banned across the country via an 1873 anti-obscenity law called the Comstock Act.

If Trump is elected president, Democrats fear he could cite the Comstock Act to issue regulations curtailing access to abortion pills or banning the mailing of any medical device or equipment that could be used in an abortion setting.

When analyzing Trump’s comments on abortion, it’s instructive to look to his full record. He has repeatedly bragged about appointing the conservative Supreme Court justices who were crucial in striking down Roe, including again in his video statement on Monday, and he continues to align himself with some of the most extreme anti-abortion organizations in the U.S. He appointed dozens of conservative anti-abortion judges to courts around the country, and that effort would likely continue in a second term.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden said Trump is “scrambling” to moderate on abortion because he’s worried about a voter backlash in November.

“Because of Donald Trump, one in three women in America already live under extreme and dangerous bans that put their lives at risk and threaten doctors with prosecution for doing their jobs. And that is only going to get worse,” Biden said in a statement issued by his campaign on Monday.

“Let there be no illusion,” he went on. “If Donald Trump is elected and the MAGA Republicans in Congress put a national abortion ban on the Resolute Desk, Trump will sign it into law.”

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