Trump claims Democrats want to ‘execute’ babies as he says he’d leave abortion rights to states

Donald Trump repeated right-wing talking points that Democrats support execution after birth, but refused to back a national abortion ban, saying that the issue should be left to the states.

The former president finally laid out his stance on abortion rights on Monday after teasing what his position would be for months. In a four-minute long video posted on Truth Social, Mr Trump said he was “proudly the person responsible for the end of Roe v Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that had enshrined the right to an abortion and reproductive care.

“Many people have asked me what my position is on abortion and abortion rights, especially since I was proudly the person responsible for something that all legal scholars both sides wanted and in fact demanded be ended: Roe vs Wade. They wanted it ended,” he said.

He thanked the six conservative Supreme Court justices – three of whom he appointed – for “having the courage for this long-fought battle to end”.

“This 50-year battle over Roe v Wade took it out of the federal hands and brought it into the hearts, mind and votes of the people in each state – it’s really something,” he said.

But despite taking credit for nominating the justices who shifted the balance of the court to deliver the Dobbs v Jackson decision in 2022, he has notably avoided taking a specific stance on abortion.

The former president went on to push the false claims that Democrats want abortion up to and including the ninth month of pregnancy – and “even execution after birth”.

“That’s exactly what it is. The baby is born, the baby is executed after birth,” he claimed.

This claim has been disproven on multiple occasions. A baby being executed after birth would constitute murder, which is of course against the law in the US.

Mr Trump went on to say that he believes abortion laws should be decided by individual states – hinting that he would not implement a federal abortion ban should he take back the White House in the November election.

Now, whatever states decide, must be the “law of the land”, he said.

Trump releases video statement about his stance on abortion (Donald Trump/Truth Social)
Trump releases video statement about his stance on abortion (Donald Trump/Truth Social)

“Many states will be different, many will have a different number of weeks or some will have more conservative than others and that’s what they will be. At the end of the day, this is all about the will of the people,” he said.

Since the Dobbs decision, numerous states have codified abortion rights either through legislation or through ballot referendums.

Last week, Florida’s supreme court upheld the state’s 15-week ban, allowing for a more stringent six-week ban to take effect. But the court also said that an amendment to the state’s constitution could be placed on the November ballot.

Numerous states including California, Vermont, Michigan and Ohio have all passed initiatives to amend their state’s constitutions to enshrine protections for abortion rights. Democrats hope that these efforts could help re-elect President Joe Biden and help in close Senate races. Mr Biden pointed to this in a statement in response to Mr Trump.

“Trump is simply lying,” he said. “There was no groundswell of support in America for overturning Roe. In fact, support for Roe is higher today in America than it has ever been.”

Mr Trump said that he is “strongly in favour” of exceptions for abortion in the case of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother – but gave no indication of where he stands on what number of weeks he would support a ban.

But Mr Trump’s words earned swift condemnation both from Democrats and anti-abortion advocates.

The White House and President Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign were swift to go on the offensive; the latter blasted out an emailed press release highlighting a new ad set to run in battleground states highlighting a Texas woman’s struggle to receive abortion care necessary to save her life.

“The only reason that that extreme abortion bans are now in effect all over the country is because of the judges, the previous president and Senate Republicans put in the courts,” added White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday.

“The only reason that women are being denied life saving and even unrelated procedures, and turned away from emergency rooms as a result of those bands is because of the judges, the previous president and Senate Republicans put on the court, the only reason that Republicans officials are able to take radical actions like banning IVF and criminalizing doctors for providing care is because of the judges the previous president and Senate Republicans put on the court.”

“Donald Trump is endorsing every single abortion ban in the states, including abortion bans with no exceptions,” Ammar Mousa, rapid response director for the Biden campaign, said in a statement. “And he’s bragging about his role in creating this hellscape.”

But Mr Trump’s words also dissatisfied opponents of abortion rights because he did not support a national abortion band.

“We are deeply disappointed in President Trump’s position,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement. “Unborn children and their mothers deserve national protections and national advocacy from the brutality of the abortion industry.”

Rather, she said that the Dobbs decision gave Congress authority to take action.

“Saying the issue is ‘back to the states’ cedes the national debate to the Democrats who are working relentlessly to enact legislation mandating abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy,” she said. “If successful, they will wipe out states’ rights.”

While signalling his pride in wiping out the constitutional right to abortion – a move that has forced some women to carry unviable pregnancies to term in some states – the former president said that he is committed to supporting the availability of IVF.

The former president praised Alabama’s legislature for passing legislation to preseve the availability of IVF in the state – coming after the state’s Supreme Court defined frozen embryos as children, forcing fertility clinics to close.

“The Republican party will always support the creation of strong, thriving and healthy American families. We want to make it easier for mothers and families to have babies – not harder,” he said.

“That includes supporting the availability of fertility treatment like IVF in every state in America. Like the overwhelming majority of Americans including the vast majority of Republicans, conservatives, Christians and pro-life Americans, I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby – what could be more beautiful or better than that.”

Mr Biden criticised Mr Trump’s words about fertility treatments as hollow.

“With all his empty words on fertility treatments, Trump doesn't tell you the MAGA Republicans he controls in Congress have put forward bills that could ban fertility treatments and that the Speaker of the House he empowered is one of the strongest supporters for a national abortion ban in the nation,” he said in a statement.

His statement comes after months of speculation and mixed messages about where he stands on abortion rights.

Last month, he signalled support for a federal 15-week abortion ban in an interview with WABC.

“The number of weeks now, people are agreeing on 15, and I’m thinking in terms of that, and it’ll come out to something that’s very reasonable,” Mr Trump said. “But people are really – even hard-liners are agreeing – seems to be 15 weeks, seems to be a number that people are agreeing at.”