Donald Trump has declared himself the “most pro-life president”, but failed to provide details on any national abortion restrictions he would back if re-elected to the White House.
On Saturday’s anniversary of the Supreme Court overturning the national right to an abortion, the former president told a group of influential evangelicals the federal government should play a “vital role” in opposing abortion.
But Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, has been reluctant to support a national ban – unlike his former vice-president turned 2024 rival Mike Pence, who earlier challenged all the party’s candidates to support the passage of a national ban on abortions, at least as early as 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Trump, who has suggested pushing for increased restrictions would be a political liability, continued to offer a muddled answer at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual conference in Washington.
Taking full credit for his role in the overturning of the landmark Roe v Wade ruling last year, the former president said he was “proud to be the most pro-life president in American history” and added there “remains a vital role for the federal government in protecting unborn life”.
“With Roe v Wade, you had none, you had no power,” Trump said. “We’ve now given pro-life people tremendous power to negotiate something that will be happy, that will be good for everybody.”
He said he supports three exceptions to abortion restrictions in cases involving rape and incest or when the life of a mother is in danger.
During his speech, he promised that if elected he would appoint “rock-solid conservative judges” and repeated false claims that abortion rights supporters want to “kill a baby” in the ninth month of pregnancy or even after a birth.
Fellow candidate Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, was met with boos when he criticised Trump at the conference on Friday (June 23).
“I’m running because he’s let us down,” Christie said after recounting his past support for Trump.
“He has let us down because he’s unwilling to take responsibility for any of the mistakes that were made and any of the faults that he has and any of the things that he’s done.
“And that is not leadership, everybody. That is a failure of leadership.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, meanwhile, vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices in the mould of conservative appointees Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, saying “we’ll do better” than those appointed by Trump.