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Trump Reportedly Favors Nationwide Abortion Ban, Despite Previous Claims

Trump has publicly opposed abortion bans, maintaining that such proposals aren’t tactically sound for Republicans.

Former President Donald Trump departs a pre-trial hearing in a hush-money case at Manhattan Criminal Court on February 15, 2024, in New York City.

Donald Trump has reportedly been telling people in his close circle that he favors the idea of a nationwide abortion ban, despite remaining relatively quiet about his support of abortion bans in public, a new report finds.

According to New York Times reporting by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Swan published Friday, Trump is telling advisers and allies that he backs a 16-week federal abortion ban, particularly because it’s a round number. “Know what I like about 16?” Trump once told a source. “It’s even. It’s four months.”

As abortion access in the U.S. has been plunged into chaos over the past several years due to the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade, Trump has been mum on abortion and even criticized a six-week abortion ban signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), reportedly due to his belief that embracing a staunch anti-abortion stance is a bad tactic for Republicans.

Still, this report on Trump may not be entirely straightforward. Indeed, experts have pointed out that Republicans purporting to back a less restrictive — but still extremely dangerous — abortion ban, like Trump’s apparent suggestion of a 16-week ban, is a tactic to make them seem more moderate on the issue, even though abortion bans are far right proposals as a principle. Meanwhile, The Times, as well as Haberman and Swan, have been criticized before for being friendly to Trump and his team in order to access insider information.

However, what is notable is that Trump is reportedly in favor of a nationwide ban, even as he has insisted in the past in public that he isn’t. Just in September, in an interview with NBC, Trump claimed that he wouldn’t sign a 15-week ban if one passed Congress — but, if The Times’s reporting is true, he has directly contradicted this statement in private.

If Republicans were to coalesce behind a more restrictive ban, as they have floated in the past and as Republicans at the state level have passed and signed into law, it’s entirely possible that Trump would sign the bill; after all, Trump has already bought into and repeated right-wing disinformation on abortion in the past.

In speeches, he has criticized Democrats over abortion and has loudly spouted that Democrats support “late-term abortion, ripping babies straight from the mother’s womb, right up until the very moment of birth” — using a misleading term to describe very rare procedures that are typically done as a result of the parents’ or fetus’s health, or because the pregnant person was unable to access an abortion earlier, which typically affects poorer people.

A 15- or 16-week nationwide abortion ban would have devastating effects across the country. Previously-introduced legislation in Congress by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) would have medical providers imprisoned for performing banned abortions, while states would no longer have the option to codify abortion rights.

Fifteen weeks is typically when fetal abnormalities first become detectable, meaning that pregnant people’s health would be endangered by being forced to continue carrying the fetus, and Graham’s ban would not allow exceptions for abnormalities. And while the bill technically contains “exceptions” for rape and incest, it also places hurdles for patients to obtain an abortion under those circumstances — in addition to the fact that exceptions have rarely been granted in states with supposed exceptions so far.

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