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Trump: Open to Contraception Limits    05/22 06:10

   

   (AP) -- Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was open to 
supporting regulations on contraception and that his campaign would release a 
policy on the issue "very shortly," comments that he later said were 
misinterpreted.

   The comments, made during an interview with a Pittsburgh television station, 
suggested that a future Trump administration might consider imposing mandates 
or supporting state restrictions on such highly personal decisions as whether 
women can have access to birth control. During an interview with KDKA News, 
Trump was asked, "Do you support any restrictions on a person's right to 
contraception?"

   "We're looking at that and I'm going to have a policy on that very shortly," 
Trump responded, according to a video of the interview that was briefly posted 
online before it was supposed to air, then taken down.

   The presumptive Republican presidential nominee was pressed in a follow-up 
question if that meant he may want to support some restrictions on 
contraception.

   "Things really do have a lot to do with the states, and some states are 
going to have different policy than others," Trump responded, before repeating 
that he would be releasing "a very comprehensive policy" on the issue.

   This is the first time Trump has suggested he would have a policy on 
contraception since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a national right to 
abortion two years ago, touching off political battles about aspects of 
reproductive rights, including contraception and in vitro fertilization.

   Responding later to media reports of his interview, Trump said on his social 
media platform Truth Social that he "has never and will never" advocate for 
restricting birth control and other contraceptives. Even so, the Biden campaign 
was quick to seize on the interview.

   "Women across the country are already suffering from Donald Trump's post-Roe 
nightmare, and if he wins a second term, it's clear he wants to go even further 
by restricting access to birth control and emergency contraceptives," 
Biden-Harris spokesperson Sarafina Chitika said in a statement.

   Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate have long pressed Trump on 
the crucial question of whether he would allow women to access the abortion 
pill mifepristone via the mail. He has yet to make clear his views on the 
Comstock Act, a 19th-century law that has been revived by anti-abortion groups 
seeking to block the mailing of mifepristone and other abortion medications.

   When asked during an April 12 interview with Time magazine for his views on 
the Comstock Act and the mailing of abortion pills, the former president 
promised to make a statement on the issue in the next 14 days, saying "I feel 
very strongly about it. I actually think it's a very important issue."

   During an April 27 follow-up interview, Trump said he would announce his 
stance "over the next week or two." It's now been three weeks since the 
interviews were published on April 30 and over five weeks since Trump told the 
magazine he would release a statement.

   When asked by the Associated Press for an update on when the announcement 
would be made, campaign officials reiterated a statement that reaffirmed 
Trump's strategy of deferring to individual states on abortion. They did not 
give an updated timeline for a policy statement on medication abortion.

   "President Trump has long been consistent in supporting the rights of states 
to make decisions on abortion," the statement said.

   Biden campaign spokesperson Lauren Hitt said Trump's allies have already 
"outlined exactly how they plan to eliminate abortion access nationwide with or 
without Congress."

   "We know Trump's playbook because we've seen it," she said in a statement. 
"Trump overturned Roe, brags about it constantly, and is proud of the horrific 
reality where women's lives are at risk, doctors are threatened with jail time, 
and IVF and birth control access are under attack."

   Trump has often relied on the tactic of promising an announcement on a major 
policy stance in "two weeks" but not delivering, including on issues such as 
minimum wage, tax policy and infrastructure. Abortion rights advocates and 
anti-abortion groups alike have expressed frustration with the delay.

   "I imagine the events in New York City have been very distracting, but we 
are watching for an announcement," said Kristi Hamrick, spokesperson for the 
anti-abortion group Students for Life, referring to the former president's hush 
money trial.

   Hamrick said the group has been speaking with Trump's team about what can be 
done to restrict abortion at the federal level.

   Mini Timmaraju, president of the abortion rights group Reproductive Freedom 
for All, pointed to the GOP's Project 2025 playbook -- a blueprint for ways to 
reshape the federal government in the event of a Republican presidential win in 
2024. The Comstock Act is not explicitly mentioned in the plan, but it calls 
for reversing FDA approval of mifepristone and restricting "mail order 
abortions."

   "Trump will say whatever he wants, but what really matters is what he did -- 
and that's to facilitate ending the constitutional right to abortion and set 
state abortion bans into motion," she said.

   At least 22 states require abortion medication to be delivered in person 
either by prohibiting mail delivery or requiring medication to be taken in a 
doctor's office, though such laws have been temporarily blocked from going into 
effect in Kentucky, Montana and Ohio amid legal battles, according to the 
National Conference of State Legislatures.

 
 
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