RFK Jr Flip Flops On Abortion Issues.
Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Sunday said he would support a federal ban on abortion after the first three months of pregnancy, but his campaign later said he “misunderstood” the question.
Speaking to NBC from the Iowa State Fair, Kennedy said, “I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life,” but added: “Once a child is viable, outside the womb, I think then the state has an interest in protecting the child.”
He said he would sign a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks or 21 weeks of pregnancy if he were elected president.
But his campaign subsequently said Kennedy did not mean to support any federal limits on abortion.
“Today, Mr. Kennedy misunderstood a question posed to him by a NBC reporter in a crowded, noisy exhibit hall at the Iowa State Fair,” his campaign said. “Mr. Kennedy’s position on abortion is that it is always the woman’s right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion.”
NBC reporter Ali Vitali posed a string of abortion questions to Kennedy, who answered “yes” to “So you would cap it at 15 weeks?” She followed up by asking “Or 21 weeks?” to which he said, “Yes, three months.” The exchange continued, and Vitali said: “I’m surprised to hear you say you’d cap it.”
Kennedy responded to that last statement by saying, “I think the states have a right to protect a child once the child becomes viable, and that right, it increases.”
A longtime advocate of what he calls “medical freedom,” Kennedy has been in the public eye in recent years largely for discussions about public health issues, in particular his stated doubts about mandates for vaccinations and some conspiracy theories about Covid-19, including widely condemned suggestions that the virus could have been engineered to spare Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese people. (Kennedy used the phrase “medical freedom” in his exchange with Vitali.)
In June in a town hall in New Hampshire, he called himself “pro-choice” and spoke in favor of legal abortion.
“I’m not going be in a position, put myself in a position, where I am going to tell a woman to bring a child to term,” he said at the time.
Limits on abortion have been widely discussed in the Republican presidential field. Former Vice President Mike Pence, for instance, has called for his fellow GOP presidential candidates to support a 15-week national ban.
Kennedy’s remarks come only days after voters in Ohio rejected a ballot measure that would have made it harder for the state’s voters to codify abortion rights in the state constitution in November.