Trump Finds His Middle Ground on Abortion 

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rawf8 /

The nation waited impatiently for former President Donald Trump to weigh in on the topic of abortion. When he finally did earlier this week, there was a feeling of letdown. Trump, being Trump, chose a middle ground that did not expressly state his stance on the procedure itself or clarify at what point, if any, he felt abortion should be restricted. He had recently championed a national abortion ban at sixteen weeks but refused to repeat that opinion in his recent declaration. 

His position is a simple one. He will respect the SCOTUS decision to leave abortion issues to the states. After all, it was his court that overturned Roe v. Wade. But Trump also voiced a commonsense list of exceptions, such as physical danger to the expectant mother, rape, and incest, in which abortion should be granted without restrictions. 

Decided in 1973, Roe v. Wade established a constitutional right to privacy, including a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. However, the Court’s recent ruling shifted the authority over abortion regulations from the federal level to individual states and ended the constitutional protection provided by Roe v. Wade. 

The deeply divisive nature of abortion in American politics means that state-level decisions on the issue can become highly politicized, influencing elections and shaping public discussions. Politicians, especially conservatives, must tread carefully through this political minefield. 

And Trump, ever an artful dodger, gave Americans the answers they needed without really answering anything. By doing so, he took a gamble that he could effectively downplay his opinion on the matter and force Team Biden to fight back on different battlegrounds, such as the economy and illegal immigration. 

After the dust settles, GOP strategists feel that Americans will move past the contentious abortion issue and focus on matters that affect more people nationwide. GOP consultant Whit Ayres noted that Trump’s comments were a clever political play. “I don’t know that anything will take the attention off the abortion issue, given some of the extremely restrictive bills that have been passed. But it is the most likely strategy to allow the focus on other issues.” 

However, the middle ground is not a good place for Trump. Democrats suggested that President Trump could still sign a national abortion ban while in office. President Biden even stated that if Republicans passed such a bill, “Trump will sign it into law.” However, the Trump campaign did not respond to inquiries about this possibility. 

Religious conservatives who had wanted a national abortion ban are understandably upset with Trump’s comments. Still, he is a much better choice for them than Biden, who would see an abortion clinic on every street in America and a supply of abortion pills mailed to every woman nationwide. It’s unlikely Trump’s lukewarm response to a national abortion ban will drive conservative voters to Biden’s side.  

By refusing to take the bait, Trump has opened the door to liberal tears and criticism. An MSNBC panel on Morning Joe melted down, with one panelist noting that Trump was “fine with states criminalizing women.” They said that his refusal to condemn abortion restrictions means he is ok with them.  

Joe Scarborough, host of Morning Joe, expressed his disdain for Trump’s position. “I’m really surprised. I thought he’d try to weasel out of it a little bit more than he did,” he observed, adding, “What he just said was he supports, like, Florida’s six-week ban.” 

Team Biden was quick to jump on the blame train, saying Trump was responsible for “creating the cruelty and chaos” that has “taken over America since the Dobbs decision.” The Biden campaign has rallied behind unrestricted abortion access, and voters have repeatedly turned against the GOP in states that had the issue on the ballot. 

For Trump, claiming the middle ground makes strategic sense. The issue is already a “done deal,” so it was better to acknowledge it as such and move on. And abortion, while a critical factor in state elections, may not be as crucial of an issue as Democrats hope on a national level. When people are struggling to make ends meet, far less of them will care about a stranger’s decision to have an abortion. 

Democrats have nothing to campaign on without abortion, and Trump has said just enough on the topic without really saying a thing. It’s another brilliant move by Trump, who consistently refuses to play progressive games.