What Donald Trump Has Actually Said About Abortion

Photo: Matt Rourke/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
We're just a few short weeks away from President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration in the United States. Already, the Republican Party plans to repeal Obamacare, and Paul Ryan announced on Thursday that the repeal includes defunding Planned Parenthood. While Planned Parenthood provides crucial women's healthcare well beyond abortion (only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services are abortion services), abortion is a sticking point for many pro-lifers wishing to defund the organisation, and the Hyde Amendment already ensures that federal funds cannot be used for abortion care. Because of this, and Trump's desire to appoint pro-life Supreme Court Justices, the fate of safe, legal abortion access is more uncertain than ever.

To prepare for what's ahead, we took a look back at Trump's evolving position on abortion over the years. While the president-elect was emphatically pro-choice in an interview on Meet The Press in 1999 ("I'm very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debate the subject. But, you still, I just believe in choice."), he spent much of the next 15 or so years backtracking more and more from that statement.
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I am pro-life.

Donald Trump
“I support a woman’s right to choose, but I am uncomfortable with the procedures. When Tim Russert asked me on Meet the Press if I would ban partial-birth abortion, my pro-choice instincts led me to say no. After the show, I consulted two doctors I respect and, upon learning more about this procedure, I have concluded that I would support a ban.”
— Clarifying his Meet The Press statement in his book The America We Deserve (p. 31-32 ) in July 2000.

"I am pro-life."
— Officially reversing his position in a CPAC speech in February 2011.

“I'm pro-life, but I changed my view a number of years ago. One of the primary reasons I changed [was] a friend of mine's wife was pregnant, and he didn't really want the baby. He was crying as he was telling me the story. He ends up having the baby and the baby is the apple of his eye. It's the greatest thing that's ever happened to him. And you know here's a baby that wasn't going to be let into life. And I heard this, and some other stories, and I am pro-life.”
— During an interview with David Brody on CBN.com in April 2011

“I support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and urge Congress to pass this bill. A ban on elective abortions after 20 weeks will protect unborn children. We should not be one of seven countries that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks. It goes against our core values.”

— In a statement to The Brody File in July 2015.
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There has to be some form of punishment.

Donald Trump
“Planned Parenthood has to stop with the abortions. A lot of people consider it an abortion clinic. I think those tapes that I saw were outrageous and disgusting by any standpoint. And they have to stop... I wouldn't fund it if they have abortion going on. Now, you hear all different numbers. They say it's 3%, other people say it's 85%. That's a big difference. So I'd certainly look into it.”
— During Meet the Press' 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls in August 2015.

“[Planned Parenthood] does do wonderful things but not as it relates to abortion. There are wonderful things having to do with women's health, but not when it comes to abortion.”
— During the 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in February 2016.

“As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I'm pro-life. I'm totally against abortion, having to do with Planned Parenthood. But millions and millions of women— cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood. So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly. And I wouldn't fund it. I would defund it because of the abortion factor, which they say is 3%. I don't know what percentage it is. They say it's 3%. But I would defund it, because I'm pro-life. But millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood.”
— During the 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate in February 2016.

“There has to be some form of punishment.”
— On women who would undergo an illegal abortion, in an interview with Chris Matthews in March 2016.

"If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed — like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions."
A statement clarifying Donald Trump's above remarks from his campaign in March 2016

I would defund [Planned Parenthood] because of the abortion factor.

Donald Trump
“Because I am pro-life, and I will be appointing pro-life judges, I would think that that will go back to the individual states. If we put another two or perhaps three justice on, that's really what's going to be. That'll happen automatically, in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.”
— On the possibility of overturning Roe v. Wade during the Third 2016 Presidential Debate in October 2016.

“If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, Hillary can say that that's OK. But it's not OK with me, because based on what she's saying, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month on the final day. And that's not acceptable.”
— On partial-birth abortions during the Third 2016 Presidential Debate in October 2016.

For the record, "partial-birth abortions," or late-term abortions, actually entail removing the fetus intact after dilating the pregnant person's cervix. This is the same method used to remove a fetus after a miscarriage. The legality of this procedure for abortion varies from state to state, but it's generally only undergone if a pregnant person's health (either physical or mental) is at risk. The other option is to induce labor and deliver the fetus.

Anyone who wants to help Planned Parenthood in the US now can find more information here.

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