Trump privately signals support for 16-week abortion ban: Sources

Trump has avoided publicly stating his position on abortion.

February 16, 2024, 3:33 PM

Former President Donald Trump has privately expressed support for a 16-week abortion ban in conversations with allies and advisors, two sources told ABC News Friday.

Those sources indicated the former president supports exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

The New York Times was first to report the news. Sources caution that this is just one idea Trump has floated and point out the former president frequently changes his mind.

Trump has gone through great lengths to avoid publicly stating his position on this issue since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. He has repeatedly declined to say whether he would support a federal ban, but has signaled he believes from a legal standpoint "it's probably better" to be handled at the state level.

PHOTO: Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press at Manhattan Criminal Court, Feb. 15, 2024, in New York.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the press at Manhattan Criminal Court, Feb. 15, 2024, in New York.
Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Trump has also stated the six-week abortion law that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law was too harsh.

"I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake," Trump said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in September 2023.

PHOTO: In this June 25, 2022 file photo, protesters gather in the wake of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington.
In this June 25, 2022 file photo, protesters gather in the wake of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images, FILE

But of course, Trump also appointed three Supreme Court justices who cleared the path for Roe v. Wade to be overruled -- a decision widely celebrated by the Republican Party.

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The Trump campaign, which did not deny the reporting, issued a statement that said Trump would work to find middle ground on abortion.

"As President Trump has stated, he would sit down with both sides and negotiate a deal that everyone will be happy with," said Karoline Leavitt, the national press secretary for the Trump campaign. "President Trump appointed strong Constitutionalist federal judges and Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and sent the decision back to the states, which others have tried to do for over 50 years."

President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday via his reelection campaign that he is the only thing standing in the way of a national abortion ban.

"Donald Trump is running to rip away your rights. Kamala and I are running to protect them," the statement said.

ABC News' Soorin Kim, Lalee Ibssa, Libby Cathey, Gabriella Abdul-Hakim and Fritz Farrow contributed to this report.

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