A Major Anti-Choice Group Is ‘Disappointed’ With Trump’s Abortion Announcement

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America has said it would not back candidates who don’t support a 15-week federal abortion ban.
Trump revealed his 2024 position on abortion in an announcement he teased Sunday night.
Trump revealed his 2024 position on abortion in an announcement he teased Sunday night.
(Photo by Arturo Jimenez/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump’s big abortion announcement Monday landed like a ton of bricks with the ultra-conservative, anti-choice groups and activists who hope to see a national 15-week abortion ban.

Trump revealed Monday he believes reproductive rights should be left up to the states, effectively signaling he won’t come out in favor of a national abortion ban between now and the election. Trump’s position angered anti-choice groups that feel empowered to call for a national ban on the procedure following the rollback of reproductive rights in 2022.

“We are deeply disappointed in President Trump’s position. Unborn children and their mothers deserve national protections and national advocacy from the brutality of the abortion industry. The Dobbs decision clearly allows both states and Congress to act,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement.

The group nonetheless reaffirmed its commitment to beating Democrats in November — without explicitly saying it would work to elect Trump. “With lives on the line, SBA Pro-Life America and the pro-life grassroots will work tirelessly to defeat President Biden and extreme congressional Democrats,” Dannenfelser said.

Dannenfelser’s group, which reluctantly backed Trump for president in 2016, has previously said it would not support candidates who don’t endorse a national 15-week abortion ban. Trump, during the primary, reportedly entertained but ultimately abandoned the idea of supporting a 16-week ban to placate social conservatives.

The situation underscores the daylight between the presumptive GOP nominee and the nation’s most prominent anti-abortion group on a tough issue for Republicans, who’ve tried to soften their stances against reproductive rights following electoral backlash in the 2022 midterms. Democrats view abortion rights as one of their most galvanizing electoral issues in 2024 as red states place increasingly stringent — and unpopular — limits not only on the medical procedure but also access to the abortion pill and infertility treatments.

Trump has taken credit for the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 and has called himself “the most pro-life president in American history.” But he seemed to back away from that characterization of his record in his video Monday, making sure to highlight his approval of in-vitro fertilization treatments and abortion exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. The former president has also declined to endorse a six-week abortion ban in his home state of Florida, which he has called a “terrible mistake.”

Trump, in the video, urged voters to “follow your heart on this issue. But remember, you must also win elections to restore our culture and, in fact, to save our country.”

A GOP operative who requested anonymity to speak candidly said it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Trump is doing what’s most politically expedient. “I don’t think anyone thinks he is pro-life,” they said.

Some conservative Republicans panned Trump’s statement Monday as clumsy and confusing.

“I’m not sure a major candidate has ever produced a worse statement on Life than the one I just watched,” tweeted Doug Stafford, the chief strategist for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a social conservative who believes life begins at conception.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a one-time Trump critic turned ally, was the first GOP senator to knock Trump for kicking the issue back to the states — a position that Republicans once broadly supported.

“I respectfully disagree with President Trump’s statement that abortion is a states’ rights issue,” Graham tweeted. “[Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health] does not require that conclusion legally and the pro-life movement has always been about the wellbeing of the unborn child — not geography.”

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