WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump said the federal government has a role in regulating late term abortions, but declined to provide specifics on what that role was in a speech to a conservative audience on Saturday night.
Trump has been relatively quiet on the issue of abortion throughout his campaign for a second term, putting him at odds with other Republican presidential hopefuls including his current biggest threat to the party nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who enacted a six week ban on abortions in his state.
“There of course remains a vital role for the federal government in protecting unborn life,” Trump told attendees at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., on Saturday night. “We will defeat the radical Democrat policy of extreme late term abortion.”
Late term abortions, which take place after 21 weeks, are extremely rare, representing just 1% of all abortions, and are often due to fetal abnormalities or threats to the mother’s life.
Trump touted his record of appointing three judges to the Supreme Court, which gave the court the conservative majority needed to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case which created federal protections for abortion.
The issue of abortion is likely to become a defining one of the 2024 election. Republican candidates are wooing far right Christian voters with commitments to ban the medical procedure – South Carolina Senator Tim Scott has said he would ban it at 15 weeks, and former Vice President Mike Pence has committed to signing a federal ban on it entirely.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted April 11-12 found that 56% of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a politician who supports legislation limiting access to abortion, while 28% would be more likely to.