"Horrifying agenda": Trump says he may let anti-abortion states monitor pregnancies

Trump said it's "irrelevant" whether he's "comfortable or not" with states prosecuting abortion-seekers

Published April 30, 2024 2:34PM (EDT)

Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump arrives for an election-night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on March 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate, former President Donald Trump arrives for an election-night watch party at Mar-a-Lago on March 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview published Tuesday that if reelected in November, he would allow states to monitor women's pregnancies and prosecute anyone who violates an abortion ban.

That position, said one leading reproductive rights organization, underscores the grave threat the presumptive GOP nominee poses to fundamental freedoms.

"There is zero doubt in my mind that Trump will choose anti-abortion extremists and their horrifying agenda over American families every single chance he gets, and this new interview proves that he will ban abortion in all 50 states," Mini Timmaraju, president and CEO of Reproductive Freedom for All, said in response to the former president's comments. "It's imperative," she added, "that we double down on our mission to reelect the Biden-Harris ticket and deliver congressional majorities to lock our right to abortion care into federal law."

Speaking to TIME magazine, Trump said it's "irrelevant" whether he's "comfortable or not" with states prosecuting people for obtaining abortion care in violation of state-level abortion bans.

"It's totally irrelevant, because the states are going to make those decisions," said Trump.

The former president also said he believes states "might" attempt to monitor pregnancies to determine compliance with abortion bans, but the federal government under his leadership would not intervene to stop such a massive invasion of privacy.

TIME's Eric Cortellessa, who conducted the interview, stressed that Trump's allies "don't plan to be passive on abortion if he returns to power," pointing to the Heritage Foundation's support for "a 19th-century statute that would outlaw the mailing of abortion pills."

"The Republican Study Committee (RSC), which includes more than 80% of the House GOP conference, included in its 2025 budget proposal the Life at Conception Act, which says the right to life extends to 'the moment of fertilization.'"

When Cortellessa asked Trump if he would veto that legislation if it reached his desk, the former president dodged the question.

"I don't have to do anything about vetoes because we now have it back in the states," Trump said.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Republican-led states rushed to impose draconian abortion bans, laws that have endangered lives and forced many to travel out of state to receive care. Nearly two dozen states across the U.S. currently ban or restrict abortion care.

Trump, who nominated three right-wing justices to the Supreme Court, has celebrated and taken credit for the high court's decision to end the constitutional right to abortion.

In a video released earlier this month, Trump said he was "proudly the person responsible" for the reversal of Roe and supports letting states do "whatever they decide" on abortion access.

"Many states will be different, many will have a different number of weeks or some will have more conservative than others, and that's what they will be," Trump said in the video. "You must follow your heart—or, in many cases, your religion or your faith."

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has signed executive orders aimed at protecting abortion access, though abortion rights campaigners say such steps are no replacement for the passage of legislation codifying abortion protections at the federal level.

Last week, as The Associated Pressreported, the Biden administration finalized a rule "intended to protect women who live in states where abortion is illegal from prosecution."

"The medical records of women will be shielded from criminal investigations if they cross state lines to seek an abortion where it is legal," the outlet noted. "In states with strict abortion rules, the federal regulation would essentially prohibit state or local officials from gathering medical records related to reproductive healthcare for a civil, criminal, or administrative investigation from providers or health insurers in a state where abortion remains legal."

Julie Chavez Rodriguez, manager of Biden's 2024 reelection campaign, said Tuesday that Trump's comments to TIME "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."

"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 healthcare decisions," said Rodriguez. "With the voters on their side this November, President Biden and Vice President [Kamala] Harris will put an end to this chaos and ensure Americans' fundamental freedoms are protected."

By Jake Johnson

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