During a rally on Wednesday, he had some words for his Iowa audience about abortion laws.
“Without the exceptions, it is very difficult to win elections,” he said. “We would probably lose majorities [in Congress] in 2024 without the exceptions, and perhaps the presidency itself.”
He said people should "follow their heart" when it comes to their stance on abortion, not asking them to be convinced by any specific proposal. But, he added, Republicans "have to win elections" by speaking more clearly about abortion. He denounced the no-limit abortion policies that Democrats favor as "radical."
“We have to expose the Democrats … as being the true radicals. They’re the radicals. Pro-lifers aren’t the radicals,” President Trump said. “In order to win in 2024, Republicans must learn how to properly talk about abortion."
No Ban?During the NBC interview he directly answered "no" when asked whether he would sign a 15 week federal ban—something other GOP candidates have pushed for—saying that he would not commit to any policy before bringing more people into the room for a discussion.
The former president claimed credit for overturning Roe v. Wade, as he had made three appointments to the Supreme Court that ultimately ruled on Dobbs v. Jackson last year. That ruling returned power back to the states to legislate on abortion as they choose. It's not clear that taking power away from the states again after just a few years with the signing of a new federal law would be something his supporters want.
After the ruling, several states quickly introduced bans on abortion.
However, in many states those laws have been blocked, by governors and lawsuits, sometimes even before they went into effect.
After years of Iowa's law being tied up in court after court, the Republican legislature passed a second six-week ban bill this summer. The Republican governor has signed an abortion ban twice. The newest iteration of the law was immediately challenged in court and is still subject to a ruling; meanwhile the state currently allows abortion up to around 20 weeks, just before a fetus becomes viable outside of the womb.
Public OpinionAfter the Supreme Court's Dobbs decision, a high profile story about a 10-year-old who was raped and traveled across state lines to have an abortion caught the nation's attention.
Most Americans, and reflected in most abortion ban laws, support exceptions for rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at stake. The majority—51 percent—favor abortions being legal, but with restrictions, according to a Gallup poll. Only 34 percent of voters said they thought abortion should be legal under all circumstances.
Support dropped when pollsters added timelines to the questions. While 69 percent thought abortion should be legal in the first trimester, only 37 percent said it should be legal in the second trimester, and 22 percent in the third.
Pew Research Center ran similar surveys in 2022, before the Dobbs decision, and found lower support for abortion, with only 19 percent saying it should be legal with no exceptions.
Tudor Dixon, a Republican who ran for and lost the governor's seat in Michigan last year, recently said on a podcast that President Trump gave her advice on abortion policy that she failed to take.
He had told her to “talk differently about abortion” when she took a hardline, no-exceptions approach, and she told President Trump "you were absolutely right" afterward.
Michigan originally had penalties for those providing abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother.