Former President Donald Trump’s campaign released a radio ad on Tuesday that touts his role in the Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
“Trump nominated conservative judges, leading to Roe v. Wade being overturned and returned to the states,” a narrator says in the radio spot which is airing in Iowa, the first state on the Republican presidential primary calendar. “Help make America great again. Caucus for President Trump on January 15.”
Indeed, Trump nominated three of the six conservative Supreme Court justices who ruled that Roe v. Wade — which had affirmed the right to an abortion before fetal viability — “was egregiously wrong from the start.”
Trump has tried to have it both ways on the issue of abortion.
In September, he criticized fellow Republican presidential hopeful and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for implementing a six-week abortion ban in the Sunshine State, calling the ban “a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”
Yet Trump has in the past supported even more draconian abortion positions, including saying during the 2016 election that women who have had abortions should be punished.
“There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said in March 2016.
In May, Trump took credit for Roe‘s reversal, which allowed states to ban abortion.
“After 50 years of failure, with nobody coming even close, I was able to kill Roe v. Wade, much to the ‘shock’ of everyone, and for the first time put the Pro Life movement in a strong negotiating position over the Radicals that are willing to kill babies even into their 9th month, and beyond,” Trump wrote in a post on his social media site, Truth Social. “Without me there would be no 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, or whatever is finally agreed to. Without me the pro Life movement would have just kept losing. Thank you President TRUMP!!!”
That social media post included a lie about abortions taking place in the ninth month of pregnancy. Abortions that take place after 26 weeks gestation are rare, amounting to about 0.02% of abortions annually, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“After 24 weeks, if a pregnant person is sick enough that she needs to deliver for her health, obstetricians either induce labor or perform a C-section, and the baby is attended by the neonatal intensive care unit,” Dr. Jen Gunter, a board-certified OBGYN, wrote in a 2016 op-ed in Vox.
Republicans have fared poorly in elections that have taken place after Roe was overturned in June 2022.
The GOP lost seats in the U.S. Senate in the 2022 midterms and underperformed in U.S. House races that same year, thanks in large part to voters’ anger over abortion bans.
In 2023, Republicans lost control of the Virginia House of Delegates after campaigning on a 15-week abortion ban. Democrats won the Kentucky governor’s race, as well as a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, after the candidates there touted their support for the right to an abortion and highlighted their opponents’ opposition to abortion rights.
Polling shows the issue could still haunt Republicans in the 2024 election, with a 19th News/SurveyMonkey poll from September showing that 63% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
Democrats are all but certain to criticize Trump’s abortion record in the 2024 election.
Christina Reynolds, senior vice president for communications at the abortion rights group EMILY’S List, tweeted on Tuesday: “Dear media: please stop giving Trump credit for moderating his position on abortion rights. He is running ads (rightly) taking credit for overturning Roe.”