News President Trump

Wednesday 17 July 2019

'Pro-life' Trump backs abortion in cases of rape or incest

President at odds with stricter laws in some states

US President Donald Trump. Photo: AP
US President Donald Trump. Photo: AP

David Millward

US President Donald Trump has declared himself "strongly pro-life", but opposed to a ban on abortion in the case of rape or incest, in his first comments since Alabama's strict laws came in.

His position was in opposition to the law signed by Alabama's governor last week, which would allow abortion only where a mother's life was in danger. A similar bill was passed by Missouri's legislation on Friday.

Mr Trump's intervention came as anti-abortion states passed laws hoping to trigger a challenge to the 1973 Roe v Wade supreme court judgment, which legalised abortion across the US.

"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 Ronald Reagan," he said on Twitter.

He added: "The radical left, with late-term abortion (and worse), is imploding on this issue. We must stick together and win for life in 2020."

Mr Trump's position has changed radically. In 1999, he declared: "I'm very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. But I just believe in choice."

It was a position that led conservative critics to accuse Mr Trump of having "New York" values when he sought the Republican nomination in 2016.

His conversion to the anti-abortion cause helped Mr Trump win the backing of evangelical conservatives who wield considerable influence in the Republican party.

Abortion is emerging as one of the key issues in US politics, with a raft of Republican-controlled legislatures passing highly restrictive measures.

Laws banning abortion from the moment a foetal heartbeat is detected have been enacted in Georgia, Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa and North Dakota. Opponents say the "heartbeat" legislation amounts to a complete ban on abortion because embryonic cardiac activity can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

It is expected these laws will come before the Supreme Court, which now has a conservative majority with Mr Trump's appointment of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.

Already several of the Democratic candidates have roundly condemned the Alabama legislation, including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. "States can't just take away these freedoms," said Pete Buttigieg, another front-runner.

Meanwhile, Justin Amash has become the first Republican congressman to call for impeachment of Mr Trump.

The 39-year-old, who is reportedly considering running for the White House next year, said Mr Trump had "engaged in specific actions" that "meet the threshold for impeachment".

He also accused Attorney General William Barr of misleading the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's findings on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

His attack was dismissed by Mr Trump who called the representative for Michigan a "total lightweight". (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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