Trump rejects national abortion ban, says up to states to decide

"Abortion rights should be determined by states," declares Trump, rejecting a national ban amidst contentious debate.

Abortion rights should be left up to US states to decide, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Monday, effectively rejecting a national abortion ban after months of mixed signals on one of the November election’s most contentious issues.

“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,” the likely Republican presidential nominee said in a video posted on his Truth Social network.

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“And whatever they decide must be the law of the land, in this case, the law of the state.”

His statement came after questions had swirled for weeks over what his stance would be on the issue, fueled by a New York Times article in February that said he had told advisers he liked the idea of a 16-week national abortion ban but was hesitant to address it publicly lest he alienate socially conservative supporters.

A shock ruling by the US Supreme Court in 2022 — boosted by three Trump nominees — left it to states to establish their own abortion laws.

Some have enacted near-total bans while others, like Maryland, passed laws to enshrine abortion rights. Many conservatives hope a national ban could override laws like Maryland’s.

Trump’s rival for the White House, US President Joe Biden, and Democrats have been leaning strongly into the issue — regularly pointing out that polls show most Americans oppose a federal ban.

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Republican losses in other off-year elections, even in normally conservative states like Kansas, have been linked to the abortion issue.

In his video, Trump repeated earlier comments that like former Republican president Ronald Reagan, when it comes to abortion he is “strongly in favor of exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.”

And he said again that he “strongly” supports IVF access for “couples who are trying to have a precious baby. What could be more beautiful or better than that?”

© Agence France-Presse