Trump and Johnson

Then-U.S. President Donald Trump was greeted by Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) before the State of the Union address on February 4, 2020 in Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images)

Trump, House GOP Converge on 15-Week Federal Abortion Ban

A Texas woman who almost died after being denied care said the Republican "is actively planning to ban abortion nationwide if he's elected, inflicting the same cruelty and chaos I've experienced on the entire country."

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, former President Donald Trump, have made the stakes of the November election clear this week by publicly endorsing a 15-week ban on abortion care nationwide.

"The number of weeks, now, people are agreeing on 15, and I'm thinking in terms of that, and it'll come out to something that's very reasonable," Trump said on WABC's "Sid & Friends in the Morning" Tuesday. "But people are really—even hard-liners are agreeing, seems to be 15 weeks, seems to be a number that people are agreeing at. But I'll make that announcement at the appropriate time."

Trump also promoted letting states lead on the issue and touted the June 2022 reversal of Roe v. Wade, which he enabled with three right-wing appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court. He acknowledged that stricter bans are politically risky, saying that "you have to win elections."

For several years, surveys have shown that most Americans favor abortion rights. A KFF poll released earlier this month found that 58% of U.S. adults oppose a national 16-week abortion ban; 66% support guaranteeing a federal right to an abortion; and 86% support protecting abortion access for patients experiencing pregnancy-related emergencies such as miscarriages.

Trump said Tuesday that he supports exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the pregnant person. As Common Dreams has reported, while Republicans have framed such exceptions as a compromise, patients have shared stories of being turned away or made to wait until they are at greater risk of death before receiving emergency care—particularly in the face of state laws imposed since the Supreme Court overturned Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Democratic President Joe Biden has promoted his support for abortion rights while running for reelection. In response to Trump's interview, the Biden campaign shared a statement from Amanda Zurawski, a Texas woman whose water broke in August 2022, 18 weeks into a wanted pregnancy that came after fertility treatments. Doctors said the fetus would not survive but also denied her care for days, citing state law.

"My family has been forever altered by the nightmare that Donald Trump created by overturning Roe," Zurawski said Wednesday. "I nearly died because my doctor could not give me the care I needed—and my ability to have children in the future has been forever compromised by the damage that was caused. Trump isn't 'signaling,' he isn't 'suggesting,' he isn't 'leaning toward' anything—he is actively planning to ban abortion nationwide if he's elected, inflicting the same cruelty and chaos I've experienced on the entire country. We cannot allow that to happen."

The ex-president's comments to the WABC radio show came after Fox News' Howard Kurtz on Sunday questioned him about February New York Timesreporting that he supports a federal 16-week abortion ban with the three exceptions. Asked if he thinks that could be "politically acceptable," Trump responded that "we're going to find out" and championed the Roe reversal.

While Trump celebrates the Dobbs decision and the potential for federal restrictions on abortion in the presidential race, House Republicans are highlighting their role in efforts to cut off care. The chamber's largest caucus of GOP members on Wednesday put out a budget proposal for fiscal year 2025 that applauds the high court's 2022 ruling and endorses 42 bills that attack reproductive healthcare and research.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) plan endorses legislation that would ban abortion after 15 weeks or even earlier, using medically inaccurate language about "a fetal heartbeat"; require unnecessary ultrasounds and 24-hour waiting periods; let states deprive providers of Medicaid funding; permanently codify the Hyde Amendment; prevent the Department of Defense from paying for abortions; prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from providing abortions; outlaw the use of fetal stem cells for research; make it harder to access the abortion pill mifepristone; and block the approval of new medications for abortions.

Among various other proposals, the document endorses the Life at Conception Act that provides 14th Amendment protections "at all stages of life," which would threaten fertility treatments. Safeguarding access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) has become a national priority since Alabama's right-wing Supreme Court ruled last month that frozen embryos are children. Shortly after that decision, U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) thwarted a Democratic effort to pass IVF protections.

"No matter how they try to spin it, this is the latest proof that if they control Congress and the White House, the GOP will ban abortion and IVF with NO exceptions, nationwide. Watch what they do, not what they say," Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Texas) said of the RSC plan.

In November, Republicans hope to not only hold on to their slim House majority—under the the leadership of fervently anti-choice Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.)—but also reclaim the Senate. Aiding those efforts, Trump-backed Bernie Moreno this week won the Republican primary to face off against Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in the general election.

"We knew this primary would advance an anti-reproductive freedom extremist, and Bernie Moreno is that and more—he's a rubber stamp for Trump's national abortion ban and the exact opposite of what Ohioans want in a leader," said Reproductive Freedom for All president and CEO Mini Timmaraju. "They deserve better, and they'll get it by reelecting Sen. Sherrod Brown."

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