Trump says he’d leave decision to prosecute women for having abortions up to the states

Former president Donald Trump has said that it should be up to states to decide whether to criminally prosecute women for having abortions.

In a new interview with Time, Mr Trump said that, if he wins the 2024 election, he would leave it to individual states with strict abortion bans to monitor pregnancies and decide when further action may be warranted.

During his first term, Mr Trump appointed three Supreme Court justices to the court who later overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark ruling that had enshrined reproductive rights across America for half a century. Since then, more than 20 states have put in place full or partial abortion bans.

Mr Trump has proudly claimed responsibility for ending the constitutional right to an abortion.

At the same time, he has also sought to limit the damage that the issue may have among voters, most of whom favour reproductive rights. A Gallup poll last summer found that only 13 per cent of Americans believe abortion should be completely illegal.

Earlier this month, in a video posted on Truth Social, Mr Trump finally laid out his his stance on abortion rights – repeating right-wing talking points that Democrats support execution after birth but refusing to sign a federal abortion ban, saying the issue should be left to the states.

But when speaking to Time magazine in an interview published on Tuesday, the former president wouldn’t commit to vetoing any further federal restrictions.

“I don’t have to do anything about vetoes because we now have it back in the states,” he said.

As well as leaving abortion policies up to the states, Mr Trump told Time that he believes states should also be left to decide on the monitoring of pregnancies.

“I think they might do that,” he told Time.

Former president Donald Trump at Manhattan criminal court for his trial in New York on Tuesday 30 April (AP)
Former president Donald Trump at Manhattan criminal court for his trial in New York on Tuesday 30 April (AP)

When asked if he would be comfortable with states prosecuting women for having abortions, he said: “It’s irrelevant whether I’m comfortable or not. It’s totally irrelevant, because the states are going to make those decisions.”

He added: “And by the way, Texas is going to be different than Ohio. And Ohio is going to be different than Michigan. I see what’s happening.”

Preisdent Joe Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez responded to Mr Trump’s comments saying they “leave little doubt” as to the Republican candidate’s intentions.

“Donald Trump’s latest comments leave little doubt: if elected he’ll sign a national abortion ban, allow women who have an abortion to be prosecuted and punished, allow the government to invade women’s privacy to monitor their pregnancies, and put IVF and contraception in jeopardy nationwide,” she said in a statement.

“Simply put: November’s election will determine whether women in the United States have reproductive freedom, or whether Trump’s new government will continue its assault to control women’s health care decisions,” she said.

President Joe Biden for his part has vowed that he will fight efforts to restrict reproductive rights both in the courts and using legislation.