Political fact | Fiorina: Trump’s about-face on abortion

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Of all the major Republican candidates, Donald Trump’s credentials on the issue of abortion are the most patchy.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina made sure to point this out during the first Republican presidential debate. Asked about Trump’s top position in the polls, Fiorina explained that Trump was linked with legitimate frustration.

“Whatever your problem, your cause, the festering problem that you hoped will be solved, the political class has let you down,” Fiorina said. “It’s just a fact, and that’s what Donald Trump draws from. I would just say this. Since he has changed his mind about amnesty, health care and abortion, I would just like to ask. what are the principles by which he rules? “

In this fact check, we assess whether Trump has changed his mind about abortion.

Fiorina’s staff were apparently so sure this would happen, a day after the debate they posted a page on their campaign website with supporting information. They cited articles from the Washington post and National newspaper who documented Trump’s move from saying he’s pro-choice to now saying he’s pro-life.

“I am very pro-choice”

Trump’s flirtations with a presidential candidacy have highlighted this at various points in a few election cycles. In 1999 he appeared on NBC’s Meet the press, while he was thinking of a third run.

“I am very pro-choice,” Trump said. “I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it represents. I cringe when I hear people discussing the subject.”

When asked if he would ban a procedure called “partial birth” by abortion haters, Trump said, “No. I wouldn’t. I’m pro-choice in every way, but I hate it. that.”

In his 2000 book The America We DeserveTrump asserted his basic position, but reversed his position on this particular procedure.

“There are issues that I don’t want to talk too much about. I support a woman’s right to choose, for example, but I’m uncomfortable with procedures. When Tim Russert asked me Meet the press if I banned partial birth abortion while I was president, my pro-choice instincts led me to say no. After the show, I saw two doctors that I respect and, learning more about this procedure, I concluded that I would indeed support a ban. “

Thus, since 2000, Trump has “a pro-choice instinct”.

“I am pro-life”

In mid-February 2011, with Trump again fueling speculation he would run for president, he spoke at the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee. In his 14-minute speech, he made this simple statement: “I am pro-life.

A few months later, in April, he sat down with the Christian Broadcasting Networkpolitical correspondent of, who asked him if he would really stick to his new belief. Here’s what Trump said:

“One thing about me, I’m a very honorable guy. I’m pro-life, but I changed my mind several years ago.

One of the reasons I changed – one of the main reasons – a friend of mine, his wife was pregnant, in this case married. She was pregnant and … he didn’t really want the baby. And he was telling me the story. He cries telling me. They got together for some reason, surprisingly, luckily because they didn’t have the right timing, he ends up having the baby, and the baby is the apple of his eye. He said, this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to him.

And you know, here’s a baby that wasn’t going to come to life. And I’ve heard that, and a few other stories, and I’m pro-life. “

So in 2011, Trump opposed abortion.

These days he often tells the story of his friend’s unexpected child.

A curious interruption

Trump clarified his position on abortion in a January interview with Mark Halperin of Bloomberg News. Trump said the only exceptions to the abortion ban would be to protect the life of the mother or in cases of incest or rape.

But we noticed this twist in this brief discussion:

Asset: “With warnings, mother’s life, incest and rape. And that’s where I am. So I’m pro-life, but with the warnings. That’s life. of the mother, very important, incest and rape. “

Halperine: “So let’s say a woman is pregnant and doesn’t fit into any of those exceptional categories and chooses to have an abortion, if she -“

Asset: “It depends when, it depends when. It depends when.”

Halperine: “Well, let’s say early in her pregnancy.”

Asset: ” Excuse me. If not in any of these – pro-life. Mark, it’s very simple. Pro-life. “

Trump interrupted Halperin to say “it depends when”. We reached out to Trump’s campaign and asked him what he meant. We haven’t had any feedback.

Our decision

Fiorina said Trump has changed his mind about abortion, and by Trump’s own admission, that’s correct. As recently as 2000, he wrote that he was pro-choice. In 2011, he declared he was pro-life. Recently, he noted that he believed the exceptions for mother’s life, incest, and rape were appropriate.

We find some obscurity in his repetition of “It depends when”, but that doesn’t change the fundamental conclusion.

We assess this statement as true.

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