Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is claiming he misunderstood a question on Sunday when he announced his support for a ban on abortion after three months. In an interview, he had said he would sign a federal ban on abortions after three months of pregnancy if elected president, a stance that puts the nominally Democratic candidate once again at odds with his party.
“I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life,” Kennedy told NBC News in an interview at the Iowa State Fair. When he was asked if that meant signing a federal ban at 15 or 21 weeks, he said yes.
“Once a child is viable, outside the womb, I think then the state has an interest in protecting the child,” he said. He added: “I’m for medical freedom. Individuals are able to make their own choices.”
A statement from his campaign clarified his position on Sunday. “Today, Mr. Kennedy misunderstood a question posed to him by a NBC reporter in a crowded, noisy exhibit hall at the Iowa State Fair,” the statement read. “Mr. Kennedy’s position on abortion is that it is always the woman’s right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion.”
Abortion access is a hot-button topic and one that most Democrats are fighting for in the wake of the conservative Supreme Court’s June 2022 decision to decimate Roe v. Wade, so his pre-walk back position is clearly out of step with the party line. But he’s also vacillated on the issue many a time.
He has recently hocked a pro-choice(ish) stance. “Listen, there’s no one who’s fought harder in this country than I have for bodily autonomy and for medical freedom,” he recently told Breaking Points. “And I think every abortion is a tragedy and most of the people who experience abortion feel that way. And we don’t need to compound that by bringing in government and telling people what to do with their bodies… the only option we have is to let the woman make that choice.”
He added: “In my view people should have the right, and government should not be interfering.”
He’s also doubled down on being pro-choice while also saying “every abortion is a tragedy” during a New Hampshire town hall, repeating that he believes in “medical freedom for bodily autonomy.” He added: “I think the worst solution [to abortion] is that the government is involved in decisions that belong to a woman.”