Donald Trump calls six-week abortion bans ‘terrible’

Former president Donald Trump, the front-runner in the GOP presidential primary, said a state abortion law signed by his top challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), which bans the procedure after six weeks, is “terrible.”

In April, DeSantis signed the controversial law, which will go into effect if the Florida Supreme Court upholds the state’s 15-week ban on abortion that he signed into law last spring. At a hearing this month, the Florida justices appeared open to upholding the limiting ban.

Trump, in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” criticized DeSantis for being “willing to sign a five-week and six-week ban.”

“I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,” Trump said.

DeSantis’s six-week ban — which includes exceptions for rape, incest, medical emergencies and “fatal fetal abnormalities” — would outlaw the procedure in Florida before many people know they’re pregnant.

The new host of “Meet the Press,” Kristen Welker, asked Trump if he’d sign federal legislation that would ban abortion at 15 weeks, a limit that antiabortion groups and some lawmakers have rallied behind.

Trump said no, and said he’d seek to negotiate with Democrats on the issue.

Republicans deploy new playbook for abortion bans, citing political backlash

Trump declined to say what time frame he thinks is appropriate for an abortion ban and instead insisted that he would “sit down with both sides and I’d negotiate something, and we’ll end up with peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years.”

“Both sides are going to like me,” he added. “I’m going to come together with all groups, and we’re going to have something that’s acceptable.”

Tough questions — and answers — on ‘late-term’ abortions

Trump called Democrats “radicals” for supporting abortions later in pregnancy. Republicans have long criticized those who support abortions after fetal viability, but such procedures after 24 weeks of gestation are extremely rare and often occur because the life of the mother is in danger or the fetus would not survive after delivery.

Most people undergo abortions earlier in pregnancy; 15-week and 20-week abortion bans disproportionately affect patients with fetal anomalies, which are often detected at a 20-week anatomy scan, along with those who take longer to realize they are pregnant.

DeSantis signed the six-week ban with little fanfare this spring, but has talked more about abortion in recent months — even as some Republicans worry DeSantis has gone too far to the right on an issue that could hurt them in the general election.

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DeSantis is running a distant second from the former president and is continuing to struggle to gain ground. A new national poll from Quinnipiac University found Trump leading DeSantis by 50 percentage points.

DeSantis is campaigning especially heavily in Iowa, the first-in-the-nation GOP caucus state, where Republicans also passed a six-week ban. DeSantis also knocked Trump for his past criticism of Florida’s six-week ban, now more explicit. DeSantis is seeking to…

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