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Trump supports IVF, backtracks on national abortion ban

Trump, who has suggested he'd support a 15-week or 20-week national ban on abortion, now says the issue should be left to states

Former President Donald Trump announced on his social media platform Monday that he does not support a national ban on abortion. He also expressed support for in vitro fertilization.
Former President Donald Trump announced on his social media platform Monday that he does not support a national ban on abortion. He also expressed support for in vitro fertilization. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has reversed his support for a national abortion ban and said that if he is elected, the GOP would also support access to in vitro fertilization.

His statement, in a Monday morning post on his social media platform, backtracks on previous commitments to pass a national abortion ban, at the risk of upsetting his conservative supporters on the religious right. On the campaign trail, Trump has expressed interest in a 15-week ban, and during his 2016 campaign, he said he would sign a 20-week ban if it made it to his desk. 

“My view is now … the states will determine by vote or legislation, or perhaps both. And whatever they decide must be the law of the land,” Trump said, noting that many states will have different laws.

“You must follow your heart, or in many cases your religion or your faith,” he said, encouraging voters to make their voice known at the ballot box.

His statement on abortion comes just one week after the Florida Supreme Court paved the way for a six-week abortion ban to go into effect in the state, but also left the future of abortion access up to voters in November.

Trump’s declaration on IVF comes after months of back and forth in the GOP about whether an embryo created for the purpose of IVF constitutes a human life. In February, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos created for the purpose of IVF can be considered children. The decision set off a range of policy debates in state legislatures about further regulating the procedure.

“The Republican Party should always be on the side of the miracle of life … IVF is an important part of that,” Trump said.

Even though many Republicans on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures have said they support access to IVF in the wake of the Alabama ruling, lawmakers have refused to codify access to the procedure. 

Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., an anti-abortion evangelical Christian, said he supports IVF but refuses to bring to the House floor a bill that would protect the procedure. Last month, when Senate Democrats brought up a vote to protect IVF, Republicans, led by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, shot it down because the legislation could have “serious consequences in our goal to protect life and religious freedoms.”

Trump also accused Democrats of being “radical” when it comes to abortion policy, suggesting that Democrats favor abortion after birth — something that is not legal, and that no mainstream Democrat has suggested.

“The concept of having an abortion in the later months and even execution after birth, that’s exactly what it is. The baby is born, the baby is executed after birth, is unacceptable and almost everyone agrees with that,” Trump said.

Leading anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List said in a statement that it is “deeply disappointed” with Trump’s latest position on abortion policy. The group was pushing for Trump to endorse a first-trimester national abortion ban.

“Saying the issue is ‘back to the states’ cedes the national debate to the Democrats who are working relentlessly to enact legislation mandating abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. If successful, they will wipe out states’ rights,” Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said.

Every time abortion access has been tested at the ballot box since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion access has prevailed. 

In a statement, President Joe Biden called Trump “the person responsible for ending Roe v. Wade.”

“He is — more than anyone in America — responsible for creating the cruelty and the chaos that has enveloped America since the Dobbs decision,” Biden said. “If Donald Trump is elected and the MAGA Republicans in Congress put a national abortion ban on the Resolute Desk, Trump will sign it into law.”

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