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When Donald J. Trump ran for president in 2016, the leaders of the anti-abortion movement backed him with promises that he would appoint Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. However, with Roe v. Wade overturned in 2022 and Trump’s recent statements on the future of abortion rights, the anti-abortion movement finds itself in a weaker national position than in years past. Many in the Republican party view the cause as politically toxic and Trump’s remarks have launched attacks on some of the top anti-abortion leaders.

Trump’s history on abortion has been mixed, with him originally being pro-choice before switching to a pro-life stance. His recent statements indicate that he believes states should decide abortion policies themselves, leaving room for exceptions like rape, incest, and the life of the mother. However, he did not offer specific details on a federal abortion ban or his position on state bans without exceptions.

While Trump’s comments may have sought to neutralize the politics of the abortion issue for his party, anti-abortion champions are concerned that he cannot escape the repercussions of his presidency on the movement. Activists continue to fight for abortion rights across various states and the Supreme Court is expected to rule on curtailing access to abortion medication. Trump’s allies are moving forward with proposals to restrict abortion rights, even though his views on a national abortion ban remain unclear.

The anti-abortion movement, having focused on overturning Roe v. Wade for decades, is now struggling to find its footing in a post-Roe era. Trump’s recent statement has left many in the movement disappointed, with Vice President Mike Pence calling it a “slap in the face” to anti-abortion supporters. Despite this, critics are not planning on withdrawing their support for Trump in the upcoming election, indicating that he may not face significant consequences for his stance on abortion.

Democrats have used Trump’s statement to attack him for the chaos and cruelty caused by abortion restrictions, accusing him of effectively endorsing total bans like those in states such as Texas. They argue that his silence on the issue is seen as an endorsement of such bans. While Trump’s remarks have sought to distance himself from the issue, Democrats and abortion rights groups are ready to continue highlighting the impact of abortion restrictions on women’s health and rights. Trump’s position on abortion is likely to remain a prominent issue through the election and beyond.

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