Multiple pro-life groups criticized former President Donald Trump for opposing a federal abortion ban in statements issued Thursday.
Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told the Washington Post on Thursday that he believed the legality of abortion should be decided at the state level. (RELATED: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Signs Sweeping ‘Pro-Mom And Pro-Life’ Measures)
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America released a statement shortly after Trump’s comments went public, saying the group would “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.”
Kristen Hawkins, president of Students for Life Action, echoed SBA Pro-Life in a statement posted to Twitter.
“The Pro-Life Generation will not support any candidate for President who doesn’t agree that abortion is a federal, state and local issue,” Hawkins wrote. “To be clear, any federal candidate running for office must support at MINIMUM a federal heartbeat abortion protection act to earn our votes.”
To be clear, any federal candidate running for office must support at MINIMUM a federal heartbeat abortion protection act to earn our votes.
— Kristan Hawkins (@KristanHawkins) April 20, 2023
Trump expressed strong support for a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy in 2018, saying it would “help to facilitate the culture of life to which our nation aspires.” In 2016, Trump said that women who obtain abortions should face “some sort of punishment.”
Pro-life groups criticized the president in January for comments he made blaming pro-lifers who supported “No Exceptions” bans on abortion for Republican losses in the 2022 midterm elections.
“It was the ‘abortion issue,’ poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on No Exceptions, even in the case of Rape, Incest, or Life of the Mother, that lost large numbers of Voters,” Trump wrote on Truth Social at the time.
“Having a strong stance against the slaughtering of innocent children is fundamentally a conservative value,” Savanna Deretich, Government Affairs Coordinator for Students for Life of America, told the Caller at the time. “If you do not have a strong pro-life stance, you are not a true conservative.” (RELATED: Child Transitioned At The Age Of 6 Due To Being ‘Depressed And Withdrawn,’ Mom Says)
“Our focus here should be on saving lives and avoiding the Radical Left’s traps, not on dividing the pro-life community,” a Trump spokesperson told the Caller. “The Radical Left, which includes late-term abortion advocates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, is the only beneficiary when this happens.”
“President Trump is the most pro-life President in American history, as pro-life leaders have stated emphatically on repeated occasions,” the spokesperson added. “President Trump earned this distinction through the consistent pro-life advocacy and policies he pursued during his term in office, especially his unwavering support for the confirmation of three pivotal Supreme Court justices. He has pledged to continue these pro-life policies as the 47th President of the United States.”
“Thanks to the Supreme Court’s recent decision, the States have now been empowered to take up the issue. Even though much work remains to be done to defend the cause of life, President Trump believes it is in the States where the greatest advances can now take place to protect the unborn,” the Trump spokesperson continued.
The spokesperson also pointed to a PBS News Hour interview in which SBA President Marjorie Dannenfelser said that “a real win” for the pro-life movement would be for each state to be “given the best ability that we have in this country to allow consensus to make its way in the law with elected officials being accountable to the people” and that each state would likely reach a “different consensus.”
Texas Right to Life told the Caller that the group remained confident that Trump would govern in a pro-life manner if he were to become president again.
“While states like Texas have increased our resolve to protect preborn children, liberal states like New York, New Mexico, and California have turned themselves into abortion tourist destinations. The Supreme Court decision overturning Roe said that the issue of abortion is up to elected officials, which can include Congress,” Kimberlyn Schwartz, the media and communications director at Texas Right to Life, told the Caller.
“President Trump has called upon Congress before to protect preborn children from abortion, and based on his solid Pro-Life accomplishments in office, we are confident that he would once again work with the Pro-Life movement to rescue the unborn if he were the 2024 nominee,” Schwartz added.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is likely to become Trump’s strongest challenger in the primary, signed a six-week abortion ban for his state on Friday. DeSantis has not weighed in on a federal ban, but as a congressman, he co-sponsored the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
In a “Today” interview that aired in mid-February, GOP presidential candidate and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she would support a federal limit on abortion but did not specify a gestational cutoff. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, another Republican running for president, said on April 13 that he would sign a 20-week federal ban, The Associated Press reported.
Businessman and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said in a late-March interview with the Caller that he regards abortion “as a states’ issue for the people” and believes that “neither Congress nor the courts ever had the power to make that decision federally.”