Trump boasts of role ending Roe v. Wade but says abortion regulations need 'concession'
"You have to win elections," he said.
Donald Trump on Wednesday weighed in again on abortion access when asked to clarify his stance on the issue, saying he was for exceptions to bans and that it was important in order to win elections.
"We're living in a time when there has to be a little bit of a concession one way or the other," the former president and 2024 candidate said during a Fox News town hall, which he participated in instead of the latest GOP primary debate.
"You have to win elections," Trump also said. "Otherwise, you're going to be back where you were, and you can't let that ever happen again. You got to win elections."
Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the national guarantee to abortion access in 2022, it has emerged as a major political issue in various states. A number of Republican-led states have adopted restrictions on the procedure.
At the same time, voters favor Democrats over Republicans on handling abortion and in swing states like Michigan, abortion has motivated voters to turn out in important elections, polling has shown.
Trump has sought to both tout his anti-abortion record while sounding more ambivalent about sweeping bans. He's boasted of his role in the Supreme Court's decision in reversing Roe, which was a key goal of conservatives for decades, given that he named three of the justices who joined that decision.
"If it weren't for me, with Roe v. Wade, you wouldn't even be talking about this stuff," Trump said on Wednesday.
"For 54 years they were trying to get Roe v. Wade terminated, and I did it and I'm proud to have done it," he said in a quote soon seized on by rival Joe Biden's campaign.
But Trump has also suggested regulations should not be overly harsh, without committing to some specifics.
"I happen to be for the exceptions, like Ronald Reagan -- with the life of the mother, rape, incest," he said on Wednesday.
Trump then slammed 2024 challenger Ron DeSantis for the six-week abortion ban, with some exceptions, that DeSantis signed as Florida's governor.
"If you talk five or six weeks, a lot of women don't know if they're pregnant ... This has been tearing the country apart for 50 years, nobody's been able to do anything," Trump said.
"We're going to come up with something that people want and people like," he claimed, echoing what he told NBC News in an interview last year when he insisted that "I would sit down with both sides and I'd negotiate something."
"I did something that nobody thought was possible, and Roe v. Wade was terminated. ... Now, people, pro-lifers, have the right to negotiate for the first time," he said then.
At the same time, Trump declined to say whether -- if he were president again -- he would sign federal legislation banning abortion.
"Now it's going to work out. Now, the number of months [when a ban begins] will be determined," he said on NBC, going on to say, "It could be state or it could be federal. I don't frankly care."
ABC News' Gabriella Abdul-Hakim, Libby Cathey, Fritz Farrow and Isabella Murray contributed to this report.
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