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Maybe no challenge is thornier for the 2024 Republican presidential main candidates than abortion.
Republicans extensively cheered the 2022 Supreme Court docket determination, Dobbs v. Jackson Girls’s Well being, that overturned Roe v. Wade. However since then, they’ve discovered that going too far on abortion restrictions is usually a political legal responsibility.
The Dobbs determination and subsequent state-level legal guidelines limiting abortion entry galvanized voters who help abortion rights. Each state poll measure on abortion rights since Dobbs has come out in favor of abortion rights, even in purple states like Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio.
On high of that, the GOP’s opposition to abortion rights has been blamed for Republican underperformance within the 2022 midterms, and November’s elections in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Ohio.
Consequently, Republican presidential candidates are trying a balancing act: find out how to attraction to a celebration base that, to various levels, opposes abortion rights, with out alienating moderates, independents and basic election voters who favor fewer restrictions. The outcome has been many broad statements about “defending life,” and not using a entire lot of specifics about precisely what restrictions candidates favor.
For instance, former President Donald Trump, the main Republican candidate, has dodged the query of whether or not he helps a federal abortion ban, to not point out what sort of gestational limits he helps.
In the meantime, Democrats see defending abortion rights not solely as an ethical crucial however as a method to drive voters to the polls in 2024. Abortion rights advocates are working to place measures defending entry to the process onto ballots in 2024 in a number of swing states, within the hopes of energizing voters.
President Biden has by no means been a passionate crusader for abortion rights. However since Dobbs, he has been extra keen to marketing campaign on the problem. The query is how a lot it continues to drive voters in 2024, and to what diploma different points – issues in regards to the economic system, Biden and Trump’s age, international conflicts – take over the dialog.
Does the candidate help a federal abortion ban?
The very best-profile query on abortion that candidates face is whether or not they would again a federal abortion ban. Earlier than he dropped out of the race, former Vice President Mike Pence challenged his rivals to signal on to a 15-week federal ban, and a number of other did. (Candidates have given a spread of solutions on what number of weeks the cutoff for such a ban could be; that’s addressed in one other part under.)
Trump has been significantly evasive on the query, nevertheless. He has been requested a couple of federal ban a number of occasions, and whereas he has by no means stated “no” outright, he has additionally regularly refused to again a federal abortion ban.
That stated, he as soon as did again a federal ban – in the course of the 2016 marketing campaign, he promised to signal a 20-week federal ban if it got here to his desk as president, and in 2018, President Trump pushed Congress to cross such a ban.
So what gestational limits, if any, does the candidate help?
Since Dobbs, states have handed quite a lot of legal guidelines about how a lot to limit abortion, giving candidates many alternatives to both reward or criticize a spread of restrictions. As well as, among the candidates signed abortion bans as governors or supported restrictions as legislators. Under are the varied ranges of abortion restrictions that candidates both at the moment help or have supported previously.
Does the candidate help restrictions on treatment abortion?
Previous to the Dobbs determination, treatment abortion accounted for a majority of all abortions within the U.S. Since Dobbs, abortion rights activists have been serving to sufferers, together with these in states with tight restrictions, get entry to the tablets utilized in these abortions – misoprostol and mifepristone. One technique is to ship the tablets to sufferers by means of the mail. In response, some states have handed legal guidelines trying to restrict entry to these tablets.
The president has some energy to limit or increase entry to the tablets – Biden, for instance, signed an government order in early 2023 that protected entry to treatment abortion through telehealth appointments, and that additionally allowed pharmacies to distribute the tablets.
As president, Trump pushed to limit treatment abortion in the course of the Ccovid-19 pandemic, asking the Supreme Court docket to require sufferers to go to a well being care supplier so as to obtain the treatment.
The candidates have stated little about whether or not and the way they might hope to limit entry to the tablets as president. NPR reached out to all campaigns about their stance on this matter and has not acquired responses.
What about exceptions within the case of rape, incest or the lifetime of the pregnant particular person?
Whereas Republicans typically oppose abortion rights, many imagine there needs to be particular circumstances wherein a affected person ought to have broad abortion entry – particularly, when a being pregnant outcomes from rape or incest, or when an abortion would save a pregnant affected person’s life.
These three exceptions are standard among the many Republican candidates, however some have supported or signed legal guidelines that both don’t include all three exceptions, or that include them to restricted extents. Nonetheless, the entire remaining main candidates agree in offering these standard exceptions. However, there may be nuance amongst their positions.
- Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., signed a near-total abortion ban in North Dakota that included very restricted exceptions for rape and incest, permitting victims of these crimes to get abortions solely as much as six weeks of gestation. That regulation additionally allowed for abortion in circumstances that may save a affected person’s life or forestall extreme medical hurt.
- Former Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., instructed Semafor in April 2023 that he helps exceptions in these three circumstances.
- Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., signed a six-week abortion ban that included exceptions for rape and incest as much as 15 weeks if a affected person may present documentation. The ban additionally contained an exception to save lots of a affected person’s life.
- As governor of South Carolina, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley signed an abortion ban that contained an exception to save lots of a affected person’s life, however no exceptions for rape or incest. Nevertheless, in June, a spokesperson stated she would signal a invoice that included these exceptions.
- Vivek Ramaswamy has stated he helps exceptions in these three circumstances, in line with Reuters.
- Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly stated on the marketing campaign path this cycle that he helps these three exceptions.