Trump Privately Expresses Support for a 16-Week Abortion Ban

Former President Donald J. Trump has told advisers and allies that he likes the idea of a 16-week national abortion ban with three exceptions, in cases of rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother, according to two people with direct knowledge of Mr. Trump’s deliberations.

Mr. Trump has studiously avoided taking a clear position on restrictions to abortion since Roe v. Wade was overturned in the middle of 2022, galvanizing Democrats ahead of the midterm elections that year. He has said in private that he wants to wait until the Republican presidential primary contest is over to publicly discuss his views, because he doesn’t want to risk alienating social conservatives before he has secured the nomination, the two people said.

Mr. Trump has approached abortion transactionally since becoming a candidate in 2015, and his current private discussions reflect that same approach.

One thing Mr. Trump likes about a 16-week federal ban on abortions is that it’s a round number. “Know what I like about 16?” Mr. Trump told one of these people, who was given anonymity to describe a private conversation. “It’s even. It’s four months.”

When discussing prospective vice-presidential candidates, Mr. Trump often asks whether they are “OK on abortion.” He is instantly dismissive when he hears that a Republican doesn’t support “the three exceptions.” He tells advisers that Republicans will keep losing elections with that position.

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, Mr. Trump told advisers that he believed the decision was going to be harmful to Republicans. Since then, he has formed the view that the abortion issue is overwhelmingly responsible for a string of Republican losses in congressional races.

Back to top button