Trump says leaning toward 15-week national abortion ban

By Thomson Reuters Mar 20, 2024 | 8:25 AM

By Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he was leaning toward a 15-week national ban on abortion but supports exceptions for rape, incest and saving the life of the mother because “you have to win elections.”

Abortion promises to be a galvanizing issue for some women voters in the 2024 presidential election in which Trump will try to unseat Democratic President Joe Biden.

The former Republican president, whose three right-wing appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court secured the majority needed to overturn Roe v. Wade in 2022, has not been specific on whether he would sign a national ban into law.

In a call-in radio interview on Tuesday, he came close.

“The number of weeks now, people are agreeing on 15. And I’m thinking in terms of that. And it’ll come out to something that’s very reasonable. But people are really, even hard-liners are agreeing, seems to be, 15 weeks seems to be a number that people are agreeing at,” Trump said on the “Sid & Friends in the Morning” show on WABC.

He said he would make an announcement at the appropriate time.

Trump said he backed exceptions to a ban on abortion when it involved rape, incest or saving the life of the mother, which he said the vast majority of Republicans support.

Trump said he tells Republicans who push a harder line: “Here’s the problem, you have to win elections. And otherwise, you’d be right back where you started.”

The Biden campaign has taken aim at Republican curbs on reproductive rights in states after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe ruling that recognized a woman’s constitutional right to abortion. Voter backlash was widely credited with limiting Republican gains in the congressional elections that followed.

Republicans have issued restrictive abortion laws in nearly two dozen states since the Supreme Court reversal of abortion rights.

Speaking to reporters in Florida on Tuesday as he voted in the state’s primary, Trump was asked what he thought about a 16-week abortion ban. “We’ll be talking about that soon,” he responded.

The New York Times reported last month that Trump has privately expressed support for a 16-week abortion ban.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)