(LifeSiteNews) — Democrat environmental and medical freedom activist and long-shot presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reaffirmed Sunday that he would not sign any federal abortion ban, shortly after suggesting he would back a ban on abortion after the first trimester.
During comments given to NBC News at the Iowa State Fair, Kennedy said, “I believe that a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life.”
“So you would cap it at 15 weeks… 21 weeks?” NBC reporter Ali Vitali followed up.
“Yes… yes,” Kennedy responded. “Three months.”
“So three months, you would sign a federal cap on that,” she asked.
“Yes, I would,” Kennedy answered, saying that “Once a child is viable, outside the womb, I think then a state has an interest in protecting the child […] I’m for medical freedom. Individuals are able to make their own choices,” but the balance between mother and child shifts the further along the child develops.
Here’s the full exchange with Kennedy, in which I ask the questions multiple times to make sure we’re understanding- even at one point saying I was surprised by the stance.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) August 14, 2023
The answer won praise from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which issued a statement calling it a “stark contrast to the Democratic Party’s radical stance of abortion on demand, with no protection for babies in the womb or their mothers, right up to the end of pregnancy. It recalls a party that most of its leaders today, including Joe Biden before he caved to the extreme Left, have abandoned – one that believed, or at least claimed to believe, that abortion should be ‘rare.’”
However, the Kennedy campaign soon issued a statement to CNN walking back the answer.
“Today, Mr. Kennedy misunderstood a question posed to him by a NBC reporter in a crowded, noisy exhibit hall at the Iowa State Fair,” it 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.”
The “clarification” matches past statements the Kennedy made in May that he “believes strongly in the principle of bodily autonomy, whether the issue is abortion or medical mandates,” and “will keep government away from women’s childbearing choices”; and in June when Kennedy himself declared the “worst solution” to the issue “is that the government is involved in decisions that belong to a woman […] I don’t think the government has any business telling people what they can and cannot do with their body.”
Adding that he is “appalled by” third-trimester abortions, Kennedy claim he would “do everything I can to end those in other ways,” but those ways would not include legal protections for the preborn: “I’m not going to be in a position where I’m going to be telling a woman to bring a child to term that she doesn’t want.”
Kennedy is the nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and son of the late Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He is founder of the group Children’s Health Defense, which gained prominence in recent years as a sharp critic of the federal government and medical establishment’s response to the COVID outbreak, earning Kennedy some fans and sympathizers across typical partisan lines.
He is not expected to ultimately win the Democrat Party nomination, although speculation continues as to whether President Joe Biden will either, or if Democrats will move to replace the elderly incumbent with a younger candidate not hounded by doubts about his mental ability.