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Trump's abortion comments are 'showing support' for women, campaign surrogate says


A court ruling in Arizona today underscores how central abortion will be to the presidential election. The state's Supreme Court upheld a law dating back to the 1860s outlawing abortion in nearly every case. And this comes just a week after Florida's Supreme Court allowed a six-week abortion ban to take effect. Former President Donald Trump has revealed more about his position on the issue in a video on Truth Social. He said whether the procedure is legal should be left up to the states.


DONALD TRUMP: Many states will be different. Many will have a different number of weeks. Or some will have more conservative than others, and that's what they will be.

SHAPIRO: Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace of South Carolina is a surrogate for the Trump campaign. Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

NANCY MACE: Thank you for having me today.

SHAPIRO: You identify as pro-life, and you have also warned your party against what you call extreme abortion bans. In Trump's video, he did not say where he personally stands. Do you know where he would like states to come down on the question of legality?

MACE: Well, I think that what he was saying yesterday was an acknowledgement that, after the overturning of Roe v. Wade - that the 10th Amendment rights are states' rights and that, by the law of the land today, this issue is left to the states until both sides come together to build consensus at the federal level. And that is not going to be anytime soon. I think it's good for us to have a leader that understands that. We lost seats in 2022 that we should have won. This issue has dominated elections, even local mayoral elections. When a mayor doesn't get to decide the issue of abortion, it has been a deciding factor in a number of races, particularly purple states, purple cities, purple districts.

SHAPIRO: But he can say...

MACE: And it's something that...

SHAPIRO: ...I think each...

MACE: ...Republicans...

SHAPIRO: ...State should...

MACE: ...Can't run away from.

SHAPIRO: ...Have their own choice to make, and yet I personally feel X, Y, Z. I mean, some people close to him have been anonymously quoted in other news outlets as saying Trump favors a 15- or 16-week ban personally. Has he said anything along those lines to you?

MACE: He has not stated publicly what week number he would be at. I think the vast majority of Americans, whether you're pro-life or pro-choice - second trimester tends to be - whether you're 12 weeks, 15 weeks, 20 weeks - you know, the second trimester tends to be the spot where most Americans, regardless of where you fall politically - a place where we can find a lot of agreement. The problem is neither the left or even the far right want to acknowledge that and find that middle ground - find that common ground. But until...

SHAPIRO: Well, let me ask - if a Republican-controlled Congress were to pass a national abortion ban, would a President Trump sign or veto it?

MACE: Well, that's a great question for him. You know, what he said in the past, what he said in his debates in the primary, is that he wants people to get in a room and build consensus. And on such a sensitive topic as abortion - and I know this firsthand being a victim of rape, a survivor of rape - that building consensus on sensitive issues is the right decision right now.

And we have many on the left who will not give you their position at all. Look at Joe Biden. He won't tell you what week he would prefer to not have abortion. So that basically means I'm assuming up until the end of nine months, which is also not a reasonable position.

SHAPIRO: Well, he has said he supports codifying Roe v. Wade, which said states could put limits on abortion once the fetus is viable.

MACE: But Roe v. Wade also allowed abortion up until the birth of the baby by nature of that remark also.

SHAPIRO: We now know that there will be abortion on the ballot in Florida in November of 2024. In Arizona, the Supreme Court has just cleared the way for implementation of this law that goes back to the 1860s. That could potentially be on the ballot. And since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Americans have voted to expand abortion access each time it's been on the ballot. So do you think Trump's statement is at all motivated by a worry that, in some of these crucial states, like Florida and Arizona, a ballot measure on abortion could give Democrats an advantage?

MACE: Donald Trump is very smart on policy and on the issues. And I believe his video yesterday and his speech on the issue shows and acknowledges how strong of a stance we need to come out for women. One of the other things that he mentioned in his video yesterday was he came out very, very strong for women and their access to IVF. He did the same thing at a rally a few weeks ago after the Alabama ruling, supporting very strongly IVF at the Rock Hill rally.

So time and time again, I believe he understands that women are important in this country - that they're half the country. They vote. And this is a way of showing support when we talk about exceptions for rape, exceptions for incest, protecting the life of the mother, protecting access to IVF. These are all things that women support and care about.

SHAPIRO: Republican South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace - she is a surrogate for the Trump presidential campaign. Thank you so much for talking with us again.

MACE: Thank you for having me today. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Erika Ryan
Erika Ryan is a producer for All Things Considered. She joined NPR after spending 4 years at CNN, where she worked for various shows and CNN.com in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Ryan began her career in journalism as a print reporter covering arts and culture. She's a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and currently lives in Washington, D.C., with her dog, Millie.
Christopher Intagliata is an editor at All Things Considered, where he writes news and edits interviews with politicians, musicians, restaurant owners, scientists and many of the other voices heard on the air.
Ari Shapiro
Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.