Former President Trump told a crowd in South Dakota on Friday that the Supreme Court’s decision to remove federal abortion rights protections “probably cost” the Republican Party politically, but was still the right decision.
“Last year, those justices bravely and incredibly ruled on something that everybody has wanted for decades, for 51 years,” Trump said Friday at the Monumental Leaders rally in Rapid City, S.D. “They ruled to end Roe v. Wade. That was a big thing.”
“And it’s probably cost us politically because the other side got energized,” he added. “You know, they’re the radicals, not the pro-lifers. But now pro-lifers have a tremendous power to negotiate.”
The high court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in summer 2022 — which overturned Roe v. Wade — is generally unpopular. Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapproved of the decision in a June poll.
Political experts theorized that the court’s decision energized Democrats to turn out for the 2022 midterms, as Democrats are more likely to support abortion rights. In the wake of the decision last year, about 40 percent of women said they were more likely to vote than before.
Trump has made the point before, blaming 2022 midterm election losses on the abortion rights debate, but other Republicans have shot back.
“The former president actually suggested that we lost elections in the midterms because we overturned Roe v. Wade?” former Vice President Mike Pence said. “I don’t believe that for a second.”
Pence is one of the most vocal anti-abortion rights candidates in the 2024 field.
Despite a disappointing outcome for the GOP — with an expected “red wave” not materializing — Republicans have continued to stick by anti-abortion protection policies.
Many 2024 GOP presidential candidates have advocated for national restrictions on abortion, though Trump has avoided saying directly whether he would support a national ban.
At the rally Friday, the former president said that he supports exceptions in abortion bans.
“But like Ronald Reagan before me, I support the three exceptions — for rape, incest, and life of the mother,” he said. “I support. Not everybody does. I think a large portion do.”
“I think you should, but again, that’s your own, that’s your own feeling,” Trump added.
The South Dakota rally featured Trump alongside Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who announced her official endorsement of the former president. The event comes as speculation rises around Noem’s future as a possible running mate for Trump in 2024.
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