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(LifeSiteNews) –– Democrat environmental activist turned independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. confirmed Thursday he would sign a federal law codifying a nationwide “right” to abortion, reminding pro-lifers considering him how much he still has in common with his former party.

Kennedy, nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and son of the late Attorney General Robert Kennedy, announced last April he would be running in the Democrat primary against incumbent President Joe Biden, presenting himself as a challenger to the orthodoxies of both parties. But after months of contending that party leadership had “rigged” the primary process against him, Kennedy announced in October he was switching to an independent bid.

On Thursday, Kennedy appeared on the KSRM radio show “The Talk of the Kenai” for a wide-ranging discussion with host Bob Bird. During the interview (34:30 to 37:40 of “Talk’s” “Thursday Hour 1” audio segment at this link), Bird asked whether he would “veto or sign a restoration of Roe versus Wade as federal statutory law.” 

Before answering, the candidate launched into a lengthy monologue about how he opposed prohibiting abortion, but wanted to reduce pregnancy-related expenses to reduce incidence of abortion.

“Here’s what my position is, Bob, and I know that I’m different than you on this. I come from a family that was, went from pro-life to pro-choice,” he said. “And so I grew up with family members who I love, who I talk to, who I respect, who didn’t feel that the way about it is—I went back and forth throughout my life. I’ve been for the past fifteen years, I’ve been the premiere advocate in the country for medical freedom and for bodily autonomy. So I don’t believe that government or any government bureaucrat ought to be able to tell people what to do with their bodies.

“”Now, at the same time, I think that every abortion is a tragedy. And I think that we as a nation should not have policies that compel women into a single choice which is what we have now, which is abortion,” Kennedy continued. “If they have a child, I want to make sure that women, particularly women—no woman in America makes a choice to terminate a pregnancy because she does not have the money to raise that child. And we put all of this money, you know, 85 percent of abortions in our country are among black women. Fertility clinics are in the white neighborhoods, the abortion clinics are in the black neighborhoods. And I’ve been greatly influenced by a woman called Angela Stanton-King, she’s part of Martin Luther King’s extended family, and she’s worked on this issue for many years. She has a house called Angie’s House, which takes care of young mothers who are being directed to abortion because they could not afford their babies, and they provide services so these young mothers can bring those babies to term.”

Bird interjected to repeat the original question, to which Kennedy answered, “I would sign a federal law that guaranteed women have a right to choose. I think women should make the choice. I don’t think government should make the choice.”

While some ambiguity remains on the details–i.e., whether he would distinguish between a bill allowing states to still pass some pro-life measures or something like the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, which would go far beyond Roe and make it illegal for states to pass virtually any pro-life laws–the answer puts Kennedy in alignment with Biden’s calls to federally codify Roe, and the Democrat Party’s “safe, legal, and rare” formulation of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Kennedy suggested in August he would limit legal abortion to the first three months of pregnancy while speaking to a NBC News reporter at the Iowa State Fair, but hours later issued a statement claiming he misheard the question and actually believes abortion is “always the woman’s right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion.” He had made multiple pro-abortion decorations before that, as well.

The interview comes just days after Kennedy named left-wing donor Nicole Shanahan as his running mate, which sparked vocal disappointment from many who had previously expressed varying degrees of sympathy and support for him, and had been expecting a running mate less aligned with conventional Democrat politics. Others reacted by arguing the choice should not have been surprising given the various left-wing positions Kennedy retains, despite having won praise from the Right over his opposition to COVID-19 vaccines and mandates.

Biden is running on his absolutist pro-abortion record. The presumptive Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump, is running on the pro-life record of his administration while also suggesting he is interested in finding a new national compromise on the issue.

Polls currently have Trump leading Biden, although voters also say that convictions in Trump’s various ongoing legal battles would make them less likely to support him. However, serious concern among Democrats over Biden’s age and mental health, and deep dissatisfaction with his job performance, give the current president comparable electoral challenges.

How Kennedy’s run will impact the race has long been a subject of speculation, given he appeals both to Democrats who want a more mentally capable and seemingly less extreme liberal, and Republicans who prefer his COVID stance to Trump’s record on the subject.

At the moment, the aforementioned polls have Kennedy drawing roughly the same number of votes from the two major candidates, leaving Trump with a narrow lead. But given how close many are predicting the election to be, concern persists over how even small defections could impact the outcome.