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(LifeSiteNews) — Democrat environmental activist turned independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. now says he considers fetal viability a cutoff point for legal abortion, just days after declaring his opposition to pro-life laws even in the ninth month of pregnancy.

Last week, Kennedy told podcaster Sage Steele he did not want the government to restrict abortion “even if it’s full term,” claiming he would instead reduce abortions through new federal childcare spending. The answer conflicted with his running mate Nicole Shanahan’s statement the year before that she thought “he absolutely believes in limits on abortion,” but fit multiple previous confirmations that he remains “pro-choice,” including that he would sign a federal law to codify Roe v. Wade.

The same day the Steele interview was released, however, Kennedy revised his position, stating that while he was “leery of inserting the government into abortion,” he “had been assuming that virtually all late-term abortions were such cases, but I’ve learned that my assumption was wrong. Sometimes, women abort healthy, viable late-term fetuses. These cases of purely ‘elective’ late-term abortion are very upsetting. Once the baby is viable outside the womb, it should have rights and it deserves society’s protection.”

“I support the emerging consensus that abortion should be unrestricted up until a certain point.” he continued. “I believe that point should be when the baby is viable outside the womb. Therefore I would allow appropriate restrictions on abortion in the final months of pregnancy, just as Roe v. Wade did.” (In fact, while Roe ostensibly permitted abortion bans in the last trimester, the Supreme Court’s companion ruling Doe v. Bolton defined Roe’s “health” exception so broadly as to support effectively unlimited abortion.)

On Thursday, Kennedy campaign spokesperson Stefanie Spear told CNN, “Mr. Kennedy’s position differs from Ms. Shanahan’s, in that he believes the cutoff should be at fetal viability. But both are aligned with the emerging national consensus of no restrictions up till a certain point and restrictions thereafter.”

The day before, Shanahan said in another interview that “the campaign stance right now is very much looking at terms and limits, and the campaign very much supports limits on abortion.” When asked for a cutoff point, she said “it moves around between 15 and 18 weeks.”

“I think that the trend towards states making these decisions is good,” she added. “The thing that makes me worried in those instances is it becoming, again, over-politicized for election reasons, and then swinging too far. Because even very religious people in this country felt that the overall political politicization of this issue has led to stances that have been more extreme than they even intended.”

Kennedy announced last April he would be running in the Democrat primary against incumbent 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 decided in October to switch to an independent bid.

Observers have taken interest in RFK’s potential to upend the race between Biden and his Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, given deep dissatisfaction with both major candidates. But interest from the right, fueled in large part by his opposition to COVID-19 vaccines and mandates, dulled with reminders of the various left-wing positions Kennedy retains, as well as the announcement of Shanahan as his running mate, which sparked vocal disappointment given her own left-wing history and ties.

Biden is running on his absolutist pro-abortion record, while presumptive Republican nominee Trump governed as pro-life in his first term but now distances himself from calls for further federal pro-life action, declaring the issue should be left to the states. 

Polls currently indicate a razor-thin popular vote but a 303-235 victory for Trump in the Electoral College, 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. Perhaps fearing his vulnerability on the issue, Trump has recently taken to claiming RFK is “fake” on the issue of vaccines.

At the moment, the aforementioned polls suggest Kennedy draws roughly the same number of votes from both Trump and Biden. But given how close many are predicting the election to be, concern persists over how even small defections could impact the outcome.