Trump Declines to Support Federal Abortion Ban, Yet Remains Strong in Republican Primary

by Joshua Brown
GOP Primary and Abortion Stance

Donald Trump is maintaining a strong foothold in the early phases of the Republican presidential primary, despite refraining from endorsing a federal prohibition on abortion. This position allows some of his main competitors to present themselves as more conservative on an issue that is a rallying point for many conservative activists.

As he seeks a return to the Oval Office, the former president often highlights the accomplishments of his administration in advancing the objectives of those who oppose abortion. For instance, he nominated three conservative justices to the Supreme Court, thereby aiding the reversal of Roe v. Wade. This move effectively ended the federal protection for abortion and realized the long-held goals of anti-abortion campaigners.

Yet Trump has resisted joining some of his competitors, including his former vice president Mike Pence, who advocate for federal bans on abortion to be enacted at relatively early stages of pregnancy. Trump has cautioned the GOP against taking stances that lack popular support among the broader public. He posits that the high court’s decision allows states to negotiate their own abortion restrictions rather than depending on federal regulations.

This creates a nuanced landscape for the Republican Party, particularly in the post-Roe environment. Whereas party leaders could previously simply express their opposition to abortion, they are now faced with more complex questions such as the timing of abortion restrictions and the possibility of implementing uniform standards across the United States, even in states where abortion rights have considerable backing.

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Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition and a member of the Republican National Committee, notes that opinions on this issue are far from monolithic. “This is not a constituency in unanimous agreement,” he said.

Trump’s approach to the abortion issue will soon be prominently featured at events attended mainly by social conservatives. While he has decided not to attend the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition banquet in Des Moines, where Pence is scheduled to speak, he recently participated in a Family Research Council event in Washington and headlined a dinner for Concerned Women for America.

Polls indicate that about two-thirds of Americans generally believe abortion should be legal. Trump has also indicated that he supports exceptions to abortion bans in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is endangered. Nevertheless, he has criticized fellow Republicans for their rhetoric on abortion, suggesting that addressing the issue in a nuanced manner could offer political advantages by exposing Democratic positions that are not aligned with mainstream political thought.

Trump attributes the Republican Party’s subdued performance in the 2022 midterm elections, in part, to the issue of abortion. He believes it’s a challenging subject that requires careful articulation, particularly during electoral campaigns.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion, Democrats outperformed expectations in the midterms, mitigating losses in the House and retaining their Senate majority. Attempts by Republicans to restrict abortion in states with conservative leanings like Kansas and Ohio have also been rejected by voters.

Once a vocal supporter of pro-choice policies, Trump has worked diligently to gain the trust of initially skeptical evangelical Christians. He now asserts that he is the “most pro-life president” in U.S. history, citing his judicial appointments and other actions that have been praised by anti-abortion activists.

Meanwhile, Democrats are also focusing on abortion rights, making it a central issue in the forthcoming elections. Joe Biden’s reelection campaign is capitalizing on Trump’s record, claiming that the former president and his MAGA movement are out of touch with American values on women’s health rights.

As the 2024 presidential election looms, Trump continues to advise Republican candidates to adjust their messaging on abortion, emphasizing the need for exceptions in specific cases. Despite this, his endorsed candidate for Michigan governor, Tudor Dixon, lost decisively to Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Opinions among GOP candidates on the issue vary. While Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott advocate for a federal ban at 15 weeks, others like entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy prefer state-level restrictions. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis remains noncommittal, often referring to a recent state law banning abortion after six weeks.

The nation’s leading anti-abortion organization, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, is pushing for GOP presidential candidates to endorse a federal 15-week ban. Anything less, according to its president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, is “unacceptable to the pro-life movement.”


This report was assisted by Big Big News writers Jill Colvin in New York and Sara Burnett in Chicago.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about GOP Primary and Abortion Stance

What is the article about?

The article discusses how former President Donald Trump is faring in the early stages of the GOP primary, particularly focusing on his stance on abortion. Despite not supporting a federal abortion ban, Trump remains a formidable candidate.

Does Donald Trump support a federal ban on abortion?

No, Donald Trump has not endorsed a federal ban on abortion. He argues for a state-level approach to the issue, claiming that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade allows states to “negotiate” their own restrictions.

How does Trump’s stance on abortion compare to other GOP candidates?

Donald Trump differs from many of his Republican rivals, including Mike Pence, who advocate for a national ban on abortion, particularly bans that would take effect early into a pregnancy.

What has Donald Trump done in the past related to abortion?

During his presidency, Trump appointed three conservative Supreme Court justices who played a role in overturning Roe v. Wade. He has tried to bolster his anti-abortion credentials despite having once been pro-choice.

What is Trump’s recommendation for Republicans regarding the abortion issue?

Trump has criticized the way Republicans talk about abortion, saying it could benefit the party politically if candidates discuss it differently. He suggests focusing on Democratic positions that are out of the political mainstream.

What do the polls say about public opinion on abortion?

Approximately two-thirds of Americans believe that abortion should generally be legal. Donald Trump has stated that he supports exceptions to abortion bans in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk.

What has been the Democratic response to Trump and the GOP’s stance on abortion?

Democrats are unified around protecting abortion rights and see it as a strength going into the 2024 elections. They accuse Republicans of trying to confuse the public with softer stances on abortion to avoid more losses.

How has the abortion issue impacted elections?

The article suggests that the abortion issue had a significant impact on the 2022 midterm elections, affecting the performance of both Democrats and Republicans. It remains a divisive topic that both parties have to navigate carefully.

More about GOP Primary and Abortion Stance

  • Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade
  • Donald Trump’s GOP Primary Campaign
  • Public Opinion on Abortion in America
  • Mike Pence’s Stance on Abortion
  • 2022 Midterm Elections Analysis
  • Democratic Party’s Position on Abortion
  • Republican Party’s Official Platform on Abortion

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PoliticoSteve September 16, 2023 - 7:37 pm

Dems have a unified front on this, Republicans are all over the place. Just shows you how divisive this issue is within the party.

CryptoKing88 September 16, 2023 - 9:21 pm

Trumps playin both sides? He wants conservatives on board but doesnt wanna scare away moderates. high stakes game.

EconWatcher September 16, 2023 - 11:47 pm

Trump’s always been a pragmatist, no surprise there. But what’s this gonna do to his chances? GOP voters are known for their strong views on abortion.

JaneInTheCity September 17, 2023 - 2:05 am

So many different opinions in the GOP, yet Trump still dominates. Kinda fascinating, to be honest.

Rebecca_W September 17, 2023 - 3:33 am

Mike Pence going for the full ban and Trump holding back? Talk about a difference in strategy. Wonder how this will play out in the primaries.

GreenEarthLover September 17, 2023 - 10:06 am

The abortion topic is such a hot button. Regardless of the stance, it’s gonna get people fired up. Good or bad for elections? Time will tell.

SallyQ September 17, 2023 - 10:11 am

interesting how Trump navigates this. It’s like he knows the public isn’t fully onboard with a total ban, but he also can’t ignore his base.

FinanceGuru101 September 17, 2023 - 2:58 pm

This issue has always been a political minefield. No one seems to get it right, not even the Republicans who’ve been advocating for this for years.

JohnDoe45 September 17, 2023 - 3:58 pm

Wow, Trump’s really playin’ 4D chess here. Not going full-on with the abortion ban, but still keeps the base? Genius or risky, not sure.

AutoEnthu September 17, 2023 - 4:35 pm

Off topic, but what’s this gonna mean for GOP policies on other fronts? You know, like economics and foreign policy? Can’t all be about abortion.


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