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Trump’s Abortion Statement Stands On Federalism

Holland McKinnie
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President Donald Trump has taken a definitive stand on the divisive issue of abortion — advocating for state-level regulation that would take the federal government out of the equation. 

Trump’s declaration underscores a commitment to federalism, asserting that abortion laws should be determined “by legislation or vote, or perhaps both,” leaving the power in the hands of state legislatures and voters. 

His position calls for less federal control of American social life, leaving that authority to be more locally controlled by voters in their states. “My view is the states will determine, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land. In this case, the law of the state,” Trump said.


Trump also took a strong position in favor of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments, saying the government should support families that wish to grow.  

However, some pro-life activists have already expressed concern that decentralizing the abortion debate will weaken the national pro-life movement.  

Trump’s broad approach to traditional federalism recognizes that the U.S. Constitution is silent on abortion and does not authorize Congress to enact legislation on the subject. That principle was central to the holding of the Supreme Court in the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson case that overruled the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a “right” protected nationwide under the Constitution. 

As the presidential election draws near, Trump’s abortion statement reflects a careful balancing act. He remains a staunch pro-life advocate and on Monday pointed to his role in appointing three Supreme Court justices who contributed to overturning Roe v. Wade.  


Trump’s nuanced position on abortion could allow him to appeal to both staunch pro-life supporters and those favoring more moderate, decentralized approaches. The strategy is not without risks, as it will not be favored by Republicans who want a federal abortion ban nationwide. As envisioned by the founders, Trump’s position, which is based on federalism, should eventually strike home with Americans who are fed up with the failures of centralized control from Washington.