Trump reveals his true abortion position: Lying to win elections

Donald Trump finally has an official position on abortion, and his official position is exactly the kind of lying, incoherent, inconsistent, nonsensical ridiculousness you’d expect from him.

Trump released a nearly five-minute video Monday, in which he profusely praises himself for ending Roe v. Wade, declaring that overturning the 50-year constitutional right was something “that all legal scholars—both sides—wanted, and, in fact, demanded.”

Utter nonsense? Of course. But Trump never lets anything as inconvenient as the truth get in the way of his rambling, semi-scripted videos.

“My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint,” he continues, “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.”

Sure, now abortion is available where everyone wants it—except in the 21 states where people want it and yet it is banned or restricted because lawmakers decided it shouldn’t be. Details, details.

In fact, since Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, the number of Americans who identify as “pro-choice” has increased, according to Gallup. And only 13% of those polled say abortion should be illegal in all cases—which hasn’t stopped states throughout the country from making abortion illegal in all or almost all cases.

And yet, according to Trump, “At the end of the day, this is all about the will of the people.” That would be the same people who don’t want abortion to be illegal? Or are we talking about a different people whose will is supposedly now represented across the land?

Maybe it’s the will of the people in Kansas, who in 2022 rejected an attempt to pave the way for an abortion ban. Or perhaps it’s the will of the people in Ohio, who resoundingly voted for a constitutional amendment protecting the right to an abortion, despite lawmakers deciding that abortion should be banned at six weeks.

“Now it’s up to the states to do the right thing,” Trump says, without actually explaining what the “right thing” is. Is the “right thing” for Republican-controlled states to abide by the will of the people in their states and protect abortion rights? Nah, that can’t be it.

“Like Ronald Reagan,” Trump says in the very next sentence, “I am strongly in favor of exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother.” Exceptions to what? Trump doesn’t say, of course. But you can fill in the blanks pretty easily. Exceptions to abortion bans.

In other words, he says without saying, he’s just fine with abortion bans as long as you have these limited mythical “exceptions.” How do we know they’re mythical? Because doctors in states where abortion is banned—with exceptions—are struggling to figure out exactly how to provide care to their pregnant patients.

In Texas, for example, Kate Cox sued for the right to an abortion under the supposed exceptions to the state’s ban. Despite a court agreeing that she was entitled to an abortion, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened to prosecute any hospitals or doctors who provided such care. The state Supreme Court sided with Paxton. Cox ended up fleeing the state in order to exercise her will.

Hers is just one of countless stories of women who’ve been trying to exercise their will, as Trump now suggests they should, but have come up against the will of Republican lawmakers and courts. What is Trump’s answer to that?

“You must follow your heart in this issue,” Trump says. What does that mean? Who knows! 

Will this new official Trump position on abortion actually answer any questions or appease anyone? Nope!

The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America was quick to condemn Trump. 

“We are deeply disappointed in President Trump’s position,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the group’s president. Not that such disappointment means the group isn’t all in on supporting Trump, though, because Dannenfelser also noted that the group will still work to “defeat President Biden.”

Does Trump’s new official position change anything at all? Nope! 

“The number of weeks now, people are agreeing on 15, and I’m thinking in terms of that, and it’ll come out to something that’s very reasonable,” Trump said just last month. Did he walk that back in his Monday video? No, he did not. Did he say he no longer supports some kind of ban? No, he did not. Did he say he would vote against any such ban, were such a ban to land on his desk? No. He. Did. Not.

So what is Trump’s actual position on abortion?

“We must win,” Trump says at the end of his video. “We have to win.”

And there you have it. Abortion is a losing issue for Republican politicians because while they are thrilled about the end of Roe, the majority of Americans are not. It’s why Republicans are trying like hell to avoid talking about abortion at all, after aggressively campaigning on “life” for decades. It’s why they’re scared that abortion could be on the ballot this November in a number of states and could turn out a lot of people whose will is to protect abortion rights—and perhaps even to punish those Republican lawmakers who’ve fought to take those rights away.

Does Trump really care about abortion one way or another? No. But even he knows that the same old anti-abortion rhetoric Republicans have successfully deployed in the past doesn’t work anymore. That’s why, in the same video, he can encourage people to follow their hearts and talk about the limited exceptions to abortion bans that he approves of. 

And what will he do if he manages to weasel his way back into the White House, thanks to, in no small part, the efforts of anti-abortion activists who will express their “disappointment” but still work to raise money and turn out the vote for Trump? Will he tell those groups to get lost? Will he refuse to sign any anti-abortion legislation? Will he refuse to issue any executive orders that restrict abortion access? 

Or will he do what he has always done, with a shrug and a sneer, dismissing the actual will of the actual people to give the most radical groups in the country exactly what they’ve always wanted?

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