Trump says he won’t block abortion pill and repeats ‘abortions after birth’ misinformation in first debate

Trump says he won’t block abortion pill and repeats ‘abortions after birth’ misinformation in first debate

Donald Trump rejected conservative efforts to ban the abortion pill mifepristone and said that he would not support such a ban as president at the first presidential debate.

Trump and President Joe Biden appeared at the event in Atlanta, where the ex-president walked away from his party’s efforts to further roll back abortion rights and said that he agreed with the decision of the Supreme Court‘s decision to keep the medication legal.

“I agree with their decision to have done that, and I will not block it,” Trump said of the court’s decision to throw out a challenge to the federal government’s approval of the drug.

The debate in Atlanta was widely seen as a debacle with the president stumbling over answers and rambling, while Trump spouted lies and falsehoods throughout.

During the segment on abortion, Trump repeated a longstanding false claim spread by Republicans: that Democrats support the right to abortion “after birth”, which would constitute the murder of a live baby.

He repeatedly falsely accused the former governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, of saying that he would support such decisions being made after a baby was born.

“Because [in] some states Democrats run, [they] take it after birth ... the governor, former governor of Virginia, …He’s, he’s willing to, as we say, rip the baby out of the womb.”

Notably, the Supreme Court did not rule on the legality of the drug itself or whether banning it would be constitutional.

The justices merely found that a group of anti-abortion activists seeking to block the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from expanding access to mifepristone lacked the legal standing to sue.

Trump’s repetition of the lie that Democrats support killing live babies drew immediate condemnation from Biden’s supporters on Twitter, who also fumed that CNN moderators did not fact-check the ex-president on air.

“I'm sorry, but Trump just claimed that Democrats allow "after birth" abortion and the moderators' only response was "thank you"???” tweeted writer Jessica Valenti, who runs a newsletter about abortion rights.

Debate moderator Dana Bash noted that Thursday’s presidential debate is the first between a Republican and a Democrat since the landmark Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs Wade in 2022. That year, Republicans failed to win a “red wave” in congressional elections and instead watched their Democratic rivals gain a seat in the Senate while holding the GOP to a slim lead in the House.

Trump clearly remembered that on Thursday as he declared: “You’ve got to get elected” as he mused on the unpopularity of the more drastic rollbacks of reproductive rights in various conservative states across the country.

He did, however, agree that he held responsibility for the decision ending federal protections for abortion rights. The ex-president bore that label proudly, exclaiming that the idea of moving the decision to the states was politically the best solution for the country.

And it’s an accurate one: under Trump’s four years in the White House, he saw three conservative justices confirmed to the Supreme Court. Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch would all three end up voting in favor of overturning the Roe vs Wade precedent in 2022.

Biden, meanwhile, hammered his opponent on the issue of women facing difficulties accessing medical care as a direct result of abortion-related legislation. He also accused Trump of lying, and claimed that the Republican candidate would sign a national abortion ban into law were he elected president and such legislation were to be passed by a GOP Congress.