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Donald Trump Says He ‘Will Not Block’ Abortion Pill Access

Anti-abortion activists weren’t thrilled with the former president’s comments on abortion at the debate. “He is acting as a politician and not a person with pro-life convictions,” one told NOTUS.

A patient prepares to take the first of two combination pills, mifepristone, for a medication abortion during a visit to a clinic.
Charlie Riedel/AP

Donald Trump pledged Thursday to “not block” access to abortion pills — once again disappointing anti-abortion advocates who are growing frustrated by the former president and other national Republicans backing off the issue.

“The Supreme Court just approved the abortion pill, and I agree with their decision to have done that,” Trump said during the first presidential debate after he was asked whether he would restrict medication abortion. “I will not block it.”

Trump has consistently attempted to distance himself from abortion restrictions, even as he continuously takes credit for the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“What happened is we brought it back to the states, and the country is now coming together on this issue. It’s been a great thing,” Trump said.

Instead of celebrating the end of Roe as helping to limit abortion, he has focused on the idea of returning the decision to the states — something that anti-abortion advocates and some Republicans have denounced.

“Most of his comments regarding abortion were disappointing but not surprising,” Abby Johnson, a prominent anti-abortion activist and CEO of the group ProLove Ministries, told NOTUS. “He is acting as a politician and not a person with pro-life convictions. I hope that he eventually realizes that politicians with moderate positions aren’t winning in the polls. People want action, one way or another. Either support child killing or don’t. There is no way to be lukewarm on this issue. “

Others in the movement were slightly more welcoming but still critical.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said on X that Trump’s answer “wasn’t great,” but it was “a whole lot better” than President Joe Biden’s, who reiterated that he wants to codify Roe v. Wade’s protections into law.

“I wish President Trump had responded differently to the question asked on abortion,” said Mark Lee Dickson, who helped pave the way for Texas’ lawsuit-enforced six-week ban and various city ordinance restrictions. But he added, “[I]t is still very clear that a vote for Trump is a vote to let thousands upon thousands of unborn babies live and a vote for Biden is a vote to let millions of unborn babies die.”

Hawkins also fact-checked the former president for saying that the Supreme Court “approved the abortion pill” recently. The justices dismissed the case on legal standing and sent it back to the lower courts and did not rule on its merits.

“I think you need a pro-life leader in your debate prep,” Hawkins said.

Conservatives are urging Trump to enforce the Comstock Act, a federal law that bans the shipment of any “thing” used in an abortion, as a national abortion ban amid concerns within the anti-abortion movement that abortion pills circumvent state bans because they can be accessed online and mailed. Trump was not specifically asked whether he would enforce or how he would interpret that law.

Abortion rights advocates immediately decried Trump’s promise to not ban abortion pills and to keep the issue up to the states.

“Donald Trump has surrounded himself with anti-abortion organizations and Republicans who are doing everything to make sure that abortion is banned nationwide,” Silvina Alarcón, political director for Reproductive Freedom for All, formerly known as NARAL, told NOTUS. “What Trump says and what Trump has done are two different things.”

Oriana González is a reporter at NOTUS.