In a recent interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” former President Donald Trump criticized six-week abortion bans, sparking backlash from his fellow Republicans and conservative activists.
Trump referred to such bans as “a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,” causing uproar among those advocating for stricter abortion laws.
Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, an activist organization that aims to “save unborn children through non-violent direct action,” told 19FortyFive on Thursday: “Former President Trump must immediately recant his outrageous statement that extending legal protection to unborn babies in Florida was a ‘horrible mistake.’
“You can’t claim to be pro-life while calling it “horrible” to protect babies at six weeks from having their tiny beating hearts halted by abortion. What’s truly horrible is to keep flip-flopping on the abortion issue like Trump keeps doing. How can pro-life voters trust him?
DeSantis Leads GOP Criticism on Donald Trump Abortion Comments
Trump’s comments come at a time when conservative states are pursuing anti-abortion legislation, enabled by three Supreme Court justices appointed during his presidency. Critics argue that his remarks suggest a strategic shift to downplay the abortion issue in the upcoming general election.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed a six-week abortion ban in his state after the fall of Roe v. Wade, was among the first to criticize Donald Trump. DeSantis questioned Trump’s claim of being pro-life and accused him of preparing to appease Democrats on the right to life issue.
Prominent pro-life advocates including Marjorie Dannenfelser and Lila Rose expressed disappointment and labeled Trump’s comments as “pathetic and unacceptable.” They emphasize the importance of every candidate being clear on their approach to protecting lives.
Another leading pro-life group, National Right to Life, did not directly condemn Trump, but told 19FortyFive on Thursday that they praised the work of its state affiliates and pro-life legislatures for introducing hundreds of pro-life laws this past legislative session—including bills protecting preborn babies after six weeks of pregnancy.
“In the first legislative session post-Dobbs, we saw unprecedented results in our efforts to protect preborn children,” explained Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “The pro-life laws passed in legislatures not only provide protections for unborn children but also show that the child in the womb is a welcome member of our society.”
“We thank and praise our state affiliates and pro-life state legislators for their untiring efforts in introducing these laws and seeing many of them pass,” Tobias went on, adding: “We also thank pro-life governors for signing these bills and state attorneys general who have defended them in the courts.”
State laws that passed this legislative session include bills outlawing abortion throughout pregnancy including within the first six weeks of gestation—with Florida’s law also providing $25 million dollars for pregnancy resources and material support. In addition, Idaho’s HB 242 prevents an abortion—whether surgical or procured using abortion drugs—from being performed on a minor without the knowledge of their parents or guardians. Additionally, states such as Mississippi provide emergency baby drop-offs at emergency services locations.
Many of the laws, including those passed by Florida and West Virginia, include exceptions in circumstances such as life of the mother, rape, incest, and medical emergencies.
Trump’s SCOTUS Focus
In response to the criticism, Trump defended his actions, reminding critics of his role in the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. He highlighted his achievement in ending the 52-year-long debate over the ruling and stated that the “power to negotiate is with the Pro Life Movement.”
While the Republican Party grapples with Donald Trump’s evolving stance on abortion, the debate over women’s reproductive rights continues to be a critical issue in American politics.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.
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