ICYMI: Like Trump, RFK Jr. Can’t Be Trusted on Abortion

Today, in response to new reporting from the Washington Post highlighting how Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has said he would support a 15-week abortion ban, repeated racially inflammatory anti-abortion talking points, and minimized abortion rights as a “culture war issue,” DNC communications adviser Lis Smith said the following:

“Like Donald Trump, RFK Jr. can’t be trusted to stand up for reproductive freedom. He’s said he would sign a national abortion ban and has repeatedly dismissed the importance of abortion rights on the campaign trail. With reproductive freedom under attack, we need leaders who will stand strong for women. It’s clear that neither RFK Jr. nor Trump will.”

ICYMI: The Washington Post: RFK Jr. rarely mentions abortion — and sends mixed signals when he does

By: Meryl Kornfield

  • At the Iowa State Fair in August 2023, Kennedy said he would support a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, then said he would not “personally” restrict abortion but added, “I think the states have a right to protect a child once the child becomes viable, and that right, it increases.”
  • Even Kennedy has acknowledged he doesn’t know what he would do on abortion once in the White House. When a Post reporter asked him in February how he would protect abortion access and reproductive rights if he were elected president, he replied: “I don’t know, you tell me. What should I be doing?”
  • Kennedy has said he believes the decision to seek an abortion should be left to women and their doctors. But he has held just one campaign event focused on abortion, an October visit to an Atlanta facility founded by Angela Stanton King — an anti-abortion and criminal justice reform activist and former Trump supporter whom the ex-president pardoned for her role in a car theft ring.
  • In the months that followed Kennedy’s appearance at Stanton King’s facility, which aims to convince women to carry their pregnancies to term, he has repeated her false and inflammatory claims that abortion providers systematically target Black women.

  • In a virtual discussion with Stanton King in February, Kennedy repeated that disinformation that Black women receive a vast majority of abortions and most abortion clinics are in Black communities.
  • Kennedy’s running mate, Nicole Shanahan, funded research into the longevity of women’s reproductive health and criticized in-vitro fertilization as “one of the biggest lies that’s being told about women’s health today.” In a lengthy post on X on April 9, after Arizona’s state Supreme Court decision, Shanahan wrote she “can hold both beliefs,” suggesting bans are “coercive” and “wrong” but that women should carry pregnancies to term unless the mother or baby’s health is at risk.
  • Kennedy’s campaign has also used his abortion position to appeal to conservative voters. Rita Palma, who worked for Kennedy gathering ballot access signatures in New York, told voters in this month that the candidate’s position was comparable to Trump’s.