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What are anti-abortion groups doing about Trump?

Last April, one of the country’s leading anti-abortion groups warned former President Donald Trump. Trump had wanted to support a 15-week federal ban on abortion, suggesting it was a matter of states’ rights. The group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America called it “morally indefensible.”

Then, after meeting Trump but without an audience With the confidence that he had suddenly adopted his position, the group seemed to warm towards him.

Just a week later, Trump undermined anti-abortion groups again, this time suggesting that the six-week bans might be “too harsh.”

Trump has now departed from the line of these groups in the most emphatic terms he has ever adopted. And his latest comments, more than ever, represent a political decision point for the party’s embattled anti-abortion wing and its desire to accommodate it.

During an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday, Trump not only refused to support a 15-week federal ban, but he also called the six-week ban coined by Florida’s governor , Ron DeSantis (right), of “terrible thing”. and a terrible mistake. While Trump had previously called his comments “too harsh” with his usual rhetorical device, the one that many people say, he is now taking ownership.

The question then is: will these groups grin and bear this situation, with Trump as the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee? Or will they retaliate? The first presents the possibility that they will be left behind; the latter presents the possibility of a major and lasting setback in the battle over abortion restrictions, now that Roe v. Wade was overthrown.

To be clear, Trump is not just criticizing DeSantis, but a wide range of Republicans. More than a dozen states have moved to ban abortion throughout pregnancy, and at least four others have moved to ban the procedure after about six weeks. States imposing six-week bans also include a crucial state early in the primary calendar, Iowa, where Trump is somewhat at odds with Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).

A large majority of Republican-controlled states have done at least what Trump now calls “terrible,” reinforcing the extraordinary nature of his comments.

From a general election perspective, Trump’s decision makes sense. Polls show that total abortion bans and six-week bans are widely unpopular. A recent Marquette University Law School poll showed that 65 percent of Americans oppose a six-week ban. This number drops slightly – 59% in a recent Gallup poll – when we bring up the idea that this is when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is how Republicans are introducing such laws.

(The Marquette poll also showed that more than twice as many Americans strongly oppose these laws as strongly favor them. Looking at these numbers, you begin to understand why even DeSantis was initially hesitant to welcome the Florida legislation. )

Among Republicans, however, the situation is more complicated, with more than 6 in 10 favoring such bans.

As with most abortion issues, the party is stuck in a post-abortion situation.Dobbs v. Jackson dilemma between what most of his base wants and what is generally acceptable. The 2022 election has not been kind to Republican hardliners on abortion, leading to significant caution among presidential candidates, even beyond Trump and DeSantis.

Trump’s views on the politics of this issue have become increasingly evident, starting in the post-midterm period when he suggested that being too firm on abortion – particularly s opposing exceptions such as rape and incest – had cost the Republicans dearly. What is particularly striking is that Trump has always taken great pains to align himself with his base, often to the detriment of his broader appeal. But on this issue, he could see a danger in marginalizing himself in view of the general elections.

Trump’s policy positions are always subject to change. And many will dismiss this as general election posturing from a former president who has otherwise praised the choice of Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade. But Trump watching over this is important.

And as he has increased his grip on the GOP nomination, he appears to have become emboldened to try to move his party away from this harder line on abortion rights. This poses a dilemma.

It is widely believed that the conservative movement of the Trump era focuses less on the details and more on the man. When Trump deviates from Republican orthodoxy, he often simply adjusts his priorities to align with him — or dismisses the importance of the issue.

But abortion is an issue on which the most passionate part of the base is often inflexible and adamant. His comments serve to test how staunch anti-abortion Republicans are and how willing they are to control their own, when in this case it is very likely that theirs will continue to lead the party until the election. 2024.

For the moment, the response has remained discreet. Trump’s decision sparked some backlash on social media from some of his usual allies, but anti-abortion groups have not rushed to sue him.

A good example is Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America’s answer. While in April he called Trump’s remarks “morally indefensible” and accused him of a “totally inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision,” on Monday, it dealt more indirectly with Trump’s even more provocative comments.

“We are at a time when we need a human rights advocate, someone dedicated to saving children’s lives and serving mothers in need. Each candidate must be clear on how they plan to achieve this,” said the group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser. She added that “anything beyond a national standard of 15 weeks” “makes no sense”.

The statement did not mention Trump by name or directly address Trump’s comments on the six-week bans. The group then followed up with an additional statement invoking Trump opponent DeSantis, whom it praised for “following the science and the will of the people” in signing the state’s six-week ban.

Trump indicates quite the opposite, claiming that it is the “will of the people” – and for good reason. Anti-abortion groups now have the task of figuring out precisely what to do with it.


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