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Donald Trump backs existing US abortion laws

Date published: Saturday, 2nd April 2016

Donald Trump

Donald Trump made yet another contradictory statement on abortion on Friday, saying he supported the current legal status quo on abortion rights.

The latest statement comes just two days after he reversed himself on whether women who undergo abortions should face “some kind of punishment”.

The Republican frontrunner told CBS’s John Dickinson in an interview: “The laws are set now on abortion and that’s the way they’re going to remain until they’re changed.” He went on to say: “I would’ve preferred states’ rights.”

“I think it would’ve been better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set ... At this moment, the laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way.” Abortion has been legal in the US since 1973. 

In a statement to the Guardian, a campaign spokesperson insisted “Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now – until he is President. Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. There is nothing new or different here.”

The flip comes after Trump stumbled on Wednesday when asked by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews during a town hall about whether women who have abortions should be punished. The comments which caused an uproar from all sides of the political spectrum forced a speedy clarification from Trump.

In a statement shortly after the MSNBC comments, Trump insisted that “if Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.”

Abortion has long been an issue where conservatives have been skeptical of Trump. Despite his current pro-life stance, the Republican frontrunner described himself as “pro-choice in every respect” in a 1999 interview. Trump described his change of heart on the subject in the first Republican debate in August. He said then “friends of mine, years ago, were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances.”

Trump’s latest statement on abortion comes only days before Wisconsin holds its primary. The Republican frontrunner currently trails Ted Cruz in polls of the state.

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