Former U.S. President Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to speak to the press after proceedings for his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on May 21, 2024.

(Photo: Dave Sanders/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump Tries to Backtrack After Signaling Support for Limits on Birth Control

"Donald Trump has repeatedly promised that state Republicans will have a blank check to pass extreme laws attacking every facet of reproductive care," one critic noted.

Reproductive freedom continues to dominate this year's contest for the White House and former U.S. President Donald Trump made clear Tuesday morning that his election would threaten access to not only abortion care but also contraceptives—even though the Republican later tried to walk back his remarks.

"Do you support any restrictions on a person's right to contraception?" Jon Delano at the Pittsburgh station KDKA asked Trump, who is expected to face Democratic President Joe Biden in November.

Trump responded: "We're looking at that, and I'm going to have a policy on that very shortly, and I think it's something that you'll find interesting... You will find it, I think, very smart. I think it's a smart decision. But we'll be releasing it very soon."

After Delano pointed out that Trump's response suggests he may support some restrictions, such as on the morning-after pill, the GOP candidate said that "things really do have a lot to do with the states, and some states are gonna have different policies than others. But I'm coming out, within a week or so, with a very comprehensive policy."

Politicoreported that Trump's campaign didn't respond to its request for comment and "KDKA declined to confirm... when the interview was recorded, but the Biden campaign released video of the exchange on Tuesday."

After the video started garnering attention, Trump said on his social media platform: "I HAVE NEVER, AND WILL NEVER ADVOCATE IMPOSING RESTRICTIONS ON BIRTH CONTROL, or other contraceptives. This is a Democrat fabricated lie, MISINFORMATION/DISINFORMATION, because they have nothing else to run on except FAILURE, POVERTY, AND DEATH. I DO NOT SUPPORT A BAN ON BIRTH CONTROL, AND NEITHER WILL THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!"

Trump has attempted to campaign on both sides of the reproductive freedom fight. Sometimes he has highlighted his role reversing the landmark abortion rights ruling Roe v. Wade: He appointed three of the six right-wing U.S. Supreme Court justices behind the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Since that 2022 decision, the GOP has ramped up attacks on abortion rights, enacting total bans in 14 states and signaling support for federal restrictions. At times, Trump has tried to distance himself from laws he recognizes as a political risk while also saying last month that he would let states monitor pregnancies and prosecute anyone who violates an abortion ban.

Many warn Republicans won't stop at abortion. Jill Filipovic reported Monday for Time that "the obvious question is, what's next? Is contraception access also on the line? Many activists, lawyers, historians, and politicians who favor abortion rights and contraception access say yes."

The progressive advocacy group Stand Up America said Tuesday that "in the past few days, Trump floated the idea of a three-term presidency, posted a video calling for a 'unified Reich' if reelected, and said he's looking at restricting access to birth control. Take his words seriously. Trump is a major threat to our freedoms and democracy."

Democrats are seizing opportunites to spotlight Republican attacks on reproductive freedom in campaign messages.

Noting Trump's comments to KDKA, Sarafina Chitika, a spokesperson for Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' campaign, said Tuesday that "women across the country are already suffering from Donald Trump's post-Roe nightmare, and if he wins a second term, it's clear he wants to go even further by restricting access to birth control and emergency contraceptives."

"It's not enough for Trump that women's lives are being put at risk, doctors are being threatened with jail time, and extreme bans are being enacted with no exceptions for rape or incest. He wants to rip away our freedom to access birth control too," Chitika added. "While Trump works overtime to roll back the clock and rip away women's freedoms, President Biden and Vice President Harris are fighting nonstop to protect access to birth control and women's right to make their own personal healthcare decisions."

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), which works to elect party members at the state level, also responded to Trump's interview with Delano.

"In 2024, the battle for power in the states has never been more crucial. Donald Trump has repeatedly promised that state Republicans will have a blank check to pass extreme laws attacking every facet of reproductive care, from undermining contraception and birth control access to denying abortion care," said DLCC national press secretary Sam Paisley. "To fully stop Trump's MAGA agenda, we must invest in building Democratic power in the states."

"State elections this year will determine the future of reproductive rights, and it has never been more important to elect Democratic majorities to state legislatures who will champion our rights, not legislate them away. This is our best defense against MAGA extremists hellbent on dragging states into the past," Paisley argued. "The DLCC is rallying to build Democratic power across the country, especially as we reach this crisis point around the fight for fundamental freedoms. It is no exaggeration to say this is the most important year in state legislative history."

In addition to supporting candidates at all levels who will defend and expand reproductive freedom, abortion rights advocates are working to advance ballot measures that will safeguard access to care in states including Arizona, Florida, Montana, and Nevada.

"Trump's strategy is clear: Sow chaos and uncertainty on his unpopular positions and ride a wave of misinformation back to the White House. One day he hints at draconian policies, the next he might backtrack, but his core intent remains the same," said Indivisible chief campaigns officer Sarah Dohl. "He is a textbook narcissist who prioritizes his interests over the freedom of the American people.

"In contrast, Joe Biden has consistently promised to protect our reproductive rights," she added. "He is committed to signing federal abortion protections into law and vetoing any national abortion ban. From Arizona to Florida and beyond, Indivisible will make sure every voter knows exactly where Trump stands when they head to the ballot box in November—because our health, our choices, and our freedom are on the line."

This post has been updated with comment from Indivisible.

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