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WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Former U.S. President Donald Trump now believes the federal government has a role to play in regulating abortion, a departure from previous remarks expressing a desire that the issue be resolved at the state level. 

“There of course remains a vital role for the federal government in protecting unborn life,” Trump unexpectedly announced Saturday night at the Evangelical Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual conference in Washington DC. “We will bring everybody together to protect our precious unborn babies in a very, very big way.” 

Trump’s remarks come after several months of refusing to commit to a national abortion policy. “We’re going to look at it,” he told a reporter in May who pressed him on whether he supports a 15-week ban. It’s a “very complex issue,” he explained to liberal CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins during a town hall a week later. 

Trump’s campaign previously said that abortion should be a “state’s only” issue, infuriating pro-lifers at the time. “Trump has DISQUALIFIED himself from the nomination of our nation’s pro-life political party,” Lila Rose of Live Action tweeted. It’s “morally indefensible,” Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America president Marjorie Dannenfelser said. She later had a meeting with Trump and GOP Senator Lindsey Graham that she described as “terrific.” 

Other candidates seeking the GOP nomination have also criticized Trump for his abortion stance, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence. DeSantis accused Trump of going “soft” after he characterized a law DeSantis signed that outlaws some abortions as early as six weeks of pregnancy in Florida as too “harsh.”

With Trump’s remarks Saturday, pro-lifers may have not gotten everything they wanted from the presumptive Republican nominee — a recent statement published by leaders within the movement called on candidates to protect pre-born children beginning at conception — but they did receive a generic commitment of support for their policy goals at the national level, something that had been missing previously.  

“I will continue to stand proudly for pro-life policies, just as I did before,” Trump said, as rumored vice presidential running mate Kari Lake sat on the dais behind him. “We’ll get something done for the country.” 

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham, and pro-life activist Frank Pavone were in attendance as well. 

During his nearly 90-minute speech, Trump also bragged about his past pro-life accomplishments while touting his belief that “every child born or unborn is a sacred gift from God.” At the same time, he reiterated his support for “the exceptions.” 

“I believe the greatest progress for pro-life is now being made in the states, where everyone wanted it to be. That’s one of the reasons they wanted Roe v. Wade terminated, is to bring it back into the states where a lot of people feel strongly it should be and where legal scholars feel very strongly it should be, with the three exceptions that I support and Ronald Reagan before me support it for rape, incest and for the life of the mother,” he said. 

Following the 2022 midterms, Trump expressed great disappointment with pro-life politicians who ran on a “no exceptions” platform, which he argued cost them their races. Many candidates refuted those accusations, but Trump has remained undeterred in thinking that the correct approach in a post-Roe America is to take a moderate position while keeping the focus on Democrat lawmakers. 

“I will continue to fight against the demented late term abortions in the Democrat Party who believe in unlimited abortion on demand and even executing babies after,” he said Saturday. 

‘“They are the radical people when they’re willing to kill a child — after birth, they’re willing. Take it beyond the nine months! They are the radical people. They are the people that are really in trouble with the Lord.” 

Trump also laid out future pro-life policies he would pursue if re-elected. He mentioned the need for the U.S. to rejoin the Geneva Consensus Declaration at the United Nations and his support for expanding adoption tax credits for families. He also wants to cut funding for schools that push Critical Race Theory and transgenderism. Noticeably absent was a promise to defund Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider.  

“It’s time for us to keep our faith, our unity, and our resolve,” Trump concluded to enthusiastic cheers. “We must be strong like never before. We must be unstoppable. Together, we will take on the Communist and the Marxists and the fascists and the globalists and the fake news media.”