RFK Jr promises national abortion ban after first trimester—campaign walks it back

"I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
Democrat presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. promised that he would enact a national abortion ban after the first three months of pregnancy. 

"I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life," he said.

"Once a child is viable, outside the womb," he continued, "I think then the state has an interest in protecting the child. I'm for medical freedom. Individuals are able to make their own choices.

Kennedy's campaign later issued a statement walking back the candidate's words, saying "Mr. Kennedy misunderstood a question posed to him by a NBC reporter in a crowded, noisy exhibit hall at the lowa State Fair. Mr. Kennedy's position on abortion is that it is always the woman's right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion."

Abortion has been a contentious issue in the year following the Supreme Court's overturning of the long-standing Roe v Wade decision, essentially kicking decisions on the legality of abortion back to state legislators. If Congress wanted to create a national law permitting abortion they would have to draft and pass that law.

Without that level of federal decison making, state legislators have been battling out across the country. Some states have banned abortion past 6 weeks of pregnancy with laws often called "heartbeat bills," while other states have permitted the practice for the full term of gestation, and still others have vowed to be "sanctuary states," meaning that they will help fund women's travel and stay in the state to partake of abortion tourism.

President Joe Biden, who is running to retain the White House, has a different view on abortion. He has made clear that he would prefer Congress enact a law ensuring abortion's legality. The White House said "the only way to ensure women in every state have access to abortion is for Congress to pass a law restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade."

In response to the Supreme Court's reversal with the Dobbs case in June 2022, Biden signed executive orders in an attempt to override or subvert state's ban on pregnancy termination. These inludes one "focused on strengthening access to affordable, high-quality contraception," to prevent unwanted pregnancy, thereby preventing the need to terminate babies at all.

NBC took Kennedy to task for opposing several key, Democrat policy plans. Kennedy opposes the massive spending for climate change, and while some Democrats would say this means he is anti-climate change protections, he is actually opposed to the current attempts to deal with it. 

Kennedy has also spoken against Covid-inspired lockdowns and against the war in Ukraine and the cluster bombs Biden sent to aid the war effort. He ranks high in favorability among all presidential candidates in the field.
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