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Trump says government has ‘vital role' opposing abortion

Former president Donald Trump speaks during the Faith & Freedom Coalition Policy Conference in Washington (Jose Luis Magana/AP)
Michelle L Price and Will Weissert, Associated Press

Donald Trump has declared himself the “most pro-life president” but failed to provide details on any national abortion restrictions he would back if re-elected to the White House.

On Saturday’s anniversary of the Supreme Court overturning the national right to an abortion, the former president told a group of influential evangelicals the federal government should play a “vital role” in opposing abortion.

But Mr Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, has been reluctant to support a national ban – unlike his former vice-president turned 2024 rival Mike Pence, who earlier challenged all the party’s candidates to support the passage of a national ban on abortions, at least as early as 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Mr Trump, who has suggested pushing for increased restrictions would be a political liability, continued to offer a muddled answer at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual conference in Washington.

Taking full credit for his role in the overturning of the landmark Roe v Wade ruling last year, the former president said he was “proud to be the most pro-life president in American history” and added there “remains a vital role for the federal government in protecting unborn life”.

He said he supports three exceptions to abortion restrictions in cases involving rape and incest or when the life of a mother is in danger.

During his speech, he promised that if elected he would appoint “rock-solid conservative judges” and repeated false claims that abortion rights supporters want to “kill a baby” in the ninth month of pregnancy or even after a birth.

Fellow candidate Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, was met with boos when he criticised Mr Trump at the conference on Friday while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices in the mould of conservative appointees Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas, saying “we’ll do better” than those appointed by Mr Trump.

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