US President Donald Trump has outlined a less restrictive view of abortion than what was recently passed by Alabama’s Republican state government.
Alabama has banned abortion except if there is a “serious health risk” to the mother, with no exceptions for rape and incest. The President who calls himself “strongly pro-life”, however, late on Saturday said he favors making an exception of cases of rape and incest.
“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly pro-life, with the three exceptions — rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother — the same position taken by (former US President) Ronald Reagan,” he tweeted.
Asked whether Trump would openly criticize the law, the President’s 2020 campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said she didn’t know, but reiterated “he’s said repeatedly he’s for those three exceptions”.
Trump said judicial appointments such as the nomination of conservative Supreme Court judges Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh helped in moving the US to further restrictions on abortion.
“We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new federal judges (many more to come), two great new Supreme Court justices… and a whole new and positive attitude about the right to life.”
According to the President, abortion will be a major issue in his re-election campaign. “The radical left, with late-term abortion (and worse), is imploding on this issue. We must stick together and win for life in 2020.”
“If we are foolish and do not stay united as one, all of our hard fought gains for life can, and will, rapidly disappear,” he said.
Though this issue dominated headlines this week, Trump remained “uncharacteristically silent”, the Washington Post reported.
But other anti-abortion conservatives say the Alabama law goes too far. Those include televangelist Pat Robertson, who called it “extreme”, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who said it “goes further” than what he believed.
Other Republicans tried to avoid the contentious issue with many dodging questions by calling it a “states issue”.
The White House, when asked for Trump’s opinion about the law, changed the subject to focus on Democrats and late-term abortions.
“Unlike radical Democrats who have cheered legislation allowing a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth, President Trump is protecting our most innocent and vulnerable, defending the dignity of life and called on Congress to prohibit late-term abortions,” it said in a statement.
A pro-choice rally is planned later in the day in protest at the new measures, the BBC reported.
Supporters of Alabama’s abortion ban say they expect the law to be blocked in court but hope the appeals process will bring it before the US Supreme Court. They want the highest court in the land, which now has a conservative majority, to make abortion a right across the US.