Trump privately favours 16-week national abortion ban

Trump privately favours 16-week national abortion ban
Trump privately favours 16-week national abortion ban

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Abortion rights will be a dominant theme is this year's presidential campaign and could prove a liability for Trump and his fellow Republicans. ― Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Feb 17 ― Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has privately expressed support for a 16-week national abortion ban, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest or risk to a mother's life, the New York Times reported yesterday, citing two sources.

That stance would mark a pivot after Trump has for years remained vague on the hot-button issue and refused to endorse a national ban. Democratic President Joe Biden, whom Trump is likely to face in the November general election, pounced on the news, saying that Trump was “running to rip away your rights.”

Reuters was not immediately able to confirm the Times' story, which the Trump campaign called “fake.”

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“As President Trump has stated, he would sit down with both sides and negotiate a deal that everyone will be happy with,” said Karoline Leavitt, a Trump spokesperson, without providing any detail on what such a deal would look like.

A source told NBC News that Trump “had not settled” on a national ban.

Abortion rights will be a dominant theme is this year's presidential campaign and could prove a liability for Trump and his fellow Republicans.

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Biden's re-election campaign is putting a spotlight on the issue to galvanise women in key battleground states, arguing that abortion access is a personal freedom that Trump and Republicans are denying women.

Republicans, meanwhile, need to turn out their culturally conservative base in what is expected to be a close contest with Biden without putting off the independents and suburban women who opinion polls show oppose sweeping abortion restrictions.

Republican strategist David Kochel said there was “no upside” in Trump making the campaign a referendum on abortion.

“I think any time we're talking about abortion instead of the border and the economy, we're losing,” Kochel said.

Trump has tried to have it both ways, taking credit for delivering the Supreme Court majority that overturned Roe v. Wade, which recognised a woman's constitutional right to abortion, while criticizing some Republican-led states' six-week abortion bans as “a terrible mistake.”

He has also blamed Republicans' positions on abortion for the party's electoral losses since the June 2022 ruling. Republicans have passed restrictive abortion laws in nearly two dozen states since the Supreme Court reversal of abortion rights.

The Times reported that Trump did not want to air his abortion views publicly yet to avoid turning off conservatives who favour stricter or full bans before he has formally clinched the Republican presidential nomination.

But anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which last year criticized Trump's statement that the Supreme Court was right to leave abortion lawmaking to states, on Friday applauded Trump's reported stance.

“We strongly agree with President Trump on protecting babies from abortion violence at 16 weeks,” President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.

Republicans' long campaign to end abortion rights has become a liability ahead of the 2024 elections, strategists from both parties have said.

Biden's campaign quickly issued a statement on Friday criticising Trump's purported policy proposal.

“Donald Trump is running to rip away your rights,” the statement said. “Does anyone doubt Trump has already cut a deal in private to ban abortion nationwide to get elected in 2024?” ― Reuters

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