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Donald Trump says he was 'very honored' to help Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade

During a town hall event broadcast on CNN, the former president repeatedly dodged questions about whether he would sign a federal abortion ban if he were reelected, while promising to ‘negotiate so that people are happy.’

By Josh Israel - May 11, 2023
Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, April 27, 2023, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

On Wednesday night, CNN aired a town hall event with former President Donald Trump in New Hampshire. At the event, Trump took questions from the audience, which was overwhelmingly made up of Republicans. Asked about reproductive rights, Trump touted his role in the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade while dodging questions about whether he would sign a federal abortion ban into law if reelected.

“How do you plan to appeal to women voters in New Hampshire who are concerned about the Dobbs decision and how states may change their laws?” one attendee asked Trump.

Trump responded by talking about how happy he was with the June 2022 Supreme Court ruling in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, in which three justices he appointed joined with other GOP appointees in overturning the nearly 50-year-old precedent that the right to an abortion is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

It’s such a great question and it was such a great victory and people are starting to understand it now. You know that they wanted to bring it back to the states, but that was probably the least important part of that victory. Getting rid of Roe v. Wade was an incredible thing for pro-life because it gave pro-life something to negotiate with. Pro-life had absolutely nothing, being stuck in Roe v. Wade, to negotiate with. And now what’s happening, and I see it all over, deals are being made. Deals are going to be made.

Claiming that presidents had wanted to get rid of Roe for 50 years, Trump said: “I was able to do it and I was very honored to do it. But by doing it, things are happening that are very, very positive.”

Trump then falsely claimed that Roe had allowed abortions even nine months into a pregnancy and that Democrats supported that. Under Roe and subsequent decisions, the right to choose an abortion was protected only up until the point a fetus was considered to have attained viability and could survive on its own outside the uterus. Democrats supported limits on abortion later in pregnancy, with exceptions for cases in which the procedure was medically necessary. 

CNN host Kaitlan Collins repeatedly asked Trump if he would sign a federal abortion ban into law if he were reelected. Trump refused to give a clear answer, saying, “What I’ll do is negotiate so that people are happy.”

“I want to do what’s right. And we’re looking, and we want to do what’s right for everybody,” he said.

Trump continued:

I am honored to have done what I did. And a lot of people said, they said in 150 years, he’s now the most consequential president because he saved so many lives. And I’m honored to have done it. And because of what I’ve done, we now have a great negotiating ability. That’s what I do in life, I negotiate. We have a great negotiating ability. And I think we’re going to be able to get something done. … Some people are at six weeks, some people are three weeks, two weeks. … President Trump is going to make a determination, what he thinks is great for the country and what’s fair for the country.

While Trump broke many of the campaign promises he made in 2016, he kept his pledge to get Roe overturned.

During an October 2016 presidential debate between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, moderator Chris Wallace asked if Trump wanted to see the ruling overturned.

“Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that’s really what’s going to be — that will happen,” Trump answered. “And that’ll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.”

Polls indicate that it will be impossible to make everyone happy by signing any kind of federal abortion ban and that the majority of Americans opposed the Dobbs decision.

A Pew Research Center poll conducted in March found 61% of U.S. adults believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, while 37% think it should not.

In February, Gallup released a survey that found 46% of adults said they want abortion laws to be less strict, while 26% said they are satisfied with the status quo. Just 15% said they want to see stricter limits on abortion.

“It’s simple, folks. Do you want four more years of that?” President Joe Biden tweeted after Wednesday’s broadcast.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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