Whitmer ‘confident’ Trump will sign federal abortion ban if given the chance

Photo Illustration/AP Photo/Alex Brandon

By Michigan Advance

April 9, 2024


MICHIGAN—Former President Donald Trump said in a video Monday it should be left up to state governments to determine the legality of abortion, touting the repeal of Roe v. Wade, while not definitively condemning a federal ban on abortion.

“My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both. And whatever they decide must be the law of the land. In this case, the law of the state,” Trump said.

Monday’s statement marks a more clear stance on abortion than has been admitted by Trump in the past. He noted that “many people have asked me what my position is on abortion and abortion rights, especially since I was proudly the person responsible for the ending of something that all legal scholars, both sides wanted and, in fact, demanded be ended: Roe v. Wade.”

The Roe decision being overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022 put women’s lives in jeopardy, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement Monday. Residents in Michigan retained the right to an abortion after the federal right fell as Whitmer and other reproductive rights groups held the state’s now abolished 1930’s ban on abortion at bay in the courts long enough to establish the state right to an abortion.

Whitmer said Trump is still taking pride in letting politicians interfere in private medical decisions for women and assertions from Trump that abortion should be left up to states and voters as a people’s issue are disingenuous.

“We know exactly how bad Trump has been for women and reproductive freedom, and we are confident he would sign into law the national abortion ban he and his party have wanted for so long. He said he thinks women should be punished for choosing abortion, and we should take him at his word,” Whitmer said.

The move to more clearly define his stance on abortion, which Trump said should include exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, is already drawing criticism from members of the Republican Party who had hoped Trump would back a 15-week federal ban on abortion.

But geography shouldn’t determine abortion rules, Trump ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in response to Trump’s statements Monday.

“I respectfully disagree with President Trump’s statement that abortion is a states’ rights issue,” Graham said. “I will continue to advocate that there should be a national minimum standard limiting abortion at fifteen weeks because the child is capable of feeling pain, with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”

Trump did not address his previous indications that he would support a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks, which has been a conversation for Republican senators. Instead Trump added that abortion in the “later months” of pregnancy is “unacceptable”.

“This 50-year battle over Roe v. Wade took it out of the federal hands and brought it into the hearts, minds, and vote of the people in each state, it was really something. Now, it’s up to the states to do the right thing,” Trump said.

There’s a lot at stake in November, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Lavora Barnes said in a statement Monday. Without federal protections for abortion, Trump and other Republicans will seek to take away fundamental freedoms from voters in Michigan, who already approved the state constitutional right to an abortion in 2022.

“Let’s be clear, Trump is not only extremely proud of overturning Roe v. Wade, he supports the nightmarish abortion bans happening in states across the country — full stop. With today’s statement, Trump stands in lock step with the MIGOP, who would tear down our reproductive freedom here in Michigan if given the chance,” Barnes said.

President Joe Biden released a statement Monday in response to Trump’s statements that he supports state’s rights to determine abortion rules, saying Trump is playing politics and giving lip service to whatever claims he thinks will get him the presidency.

“Let there be no illusion. If Donald Trump is elected and the MAGA Republicans in Congress put a national abortion ban on the Resolute Desk, Trump will sign it into law,” Biden said. “Trump is scrambling. He’s worried that since he’s the one responsible for overturning Roe the voters will hold him accountable in 2024.”

And voters will hold Trump accountable at the polls, Biden said, adding that, “America was built on personal freedom and liberty. So, there is nothing more un-American than having our personal freedoms taken away.”

Trump also took on a divisive subject in the Republican party right now: In vitro fertilization, or IVF. He offered his support to those who seek out IVF saying he wants to make it easier for families to have babies, not harder.

“Like the overwhelming majority of Americans, including the vast majority of Republicans, conservatives, Christians, and pro-life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby. What could be more beautiful or better than that?,” Trump said.

Stances on IVF access from Republicans nationwide range after the issue became front of line after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in February that frozen embryos were legally considered “children” which halted IVF health care in the state. Though legislation was signed in March to allow for treatments to restart, some clinics haven’t due to remaining concerns over legality.

Damage has already been done by the fall of Roe and attacks on IVF access, Whitmer said in a statement, and despite his statements Monday, voters need to look at what Trump and his allies have actually done to people’s abilities to grow their family on their terms.

“When politicians are in charge, we see women’s lives in jeopardy and medical providers—nurses and doctors—looking at prison time for doing their jobs. We see IVF taken away from loving families who want to have kids. We see access to birth control, prenatal care, and so much more at risk,” Whitmer said. “Make no mistake: President Biden and Vice President Harris are the only ones in this race who will stop abortion from being banned across all fifty states. We need to fight like hell to make sure they win in November.”

READ MORE: A second Trump term could lead to abortion and IVF bans

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license.



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