Pence blasts Trump’s ‘slap in the face’ announcement on key issue for Christian voters

Former Vice President Mike Pence is taking aim at his two-time running mate over his long-awaited announcement on abortion.Pence charged on Monday that former President Trump’s decision not to support a federal ban on abortion is a “retreat on the Right to Life” and “a slap in the face to the millions of pro-life Americans.”The former vice president’s statement came a couple hours after Trump took credit for the decision two years ago by the conservative majority on the Supreme Court that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which had legalized abortion nationwide.But Trump declined to support the push by social conservatives to ban abortion at the federal level and emphasized his support for states determining their own laws for abortion so long as there are exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.WHAT TRUMP SAID IN HIS HIGHLY ANTICIPATED ABORTION ANNOUNCEMENT”The states will determine by vote, or legislation, or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land – in this case, the law of the state,” Trump said in video posted on social media. “Many states will be different. Many states will have a different number of weeks… at the end of the day it is all about the will of the people.”WHAT TOP REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING ABOUT TRUMP’S ABORTION ANNOUNCEMENTPence, who’s long been a champion for evangelical voters, pushed for a federal abortion ban last year as he ran for the Republican presidential nomination, as part of a field of roughly a dozen GOP candidates who unsuccessfully challenged Trump.In a statement on social media, Pence argued, “President Trump’s retreat on the Right to Life is a slap in the face to the millions of pro-life Americans who voted for him in 2016 and 2020. By nominating and standing by the confirmation of conservative justices, the Trump-Pence Administration helped send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs and gave the pro-life movement the opportunity to compassionately support women and unborn children.”The former vice president lamented that “too many Republican politicians are all too ready to wash their hands of the battle for life.”And he emphasized that “however much our Republican nominee or other candidates seek to marginalize the cause of life, I know pro-life Americans will never relent until we see the sanctity of life restored to the center of American law in every state in this country.”Asked for a response to the criticism from Pence, Trump campaign spokesman Steve Cheung replied, “Who?”Pence was far from the only high-profile Republican to criticize the former president.And a leading anti-abortion group also wasn’t pleased with Trump’s announcement.Majorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life, said she was “deeply disappointed” by Trump’s announcement on Monday, arguing his statement was a victory for Democrats.”Saying the issue is ‘back to the states’ cedes the national debate to Democrats who are working relentlessly to enact legislation mandating abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy,” Dannenfelser emphasized. “If successful, they will wipe out states’ rights.”The blockbuster Supreme Court ruling nearly two years ago not only moved the divisive issue back to the states, but it forced Republicans to play plenty of defense in elections across the country, as a party that’s nearly entirely “pro-life” has had to deal with an electorate where a majority of Americans support at least some form of abortion access.In the wake of the Supreme Court move, Republican-dominated states have implemented a new wave of restrictions on abortion, including Florida’s six-week ban.As Democrats target Trump and other Republicans over the divisive issue, the former president has tried to thread the needle on abortion.As he did on Monday, Trump regularly takes credit on the campaign trail for appointing the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, and touts that he’s the “most pro-life president in American history.”But he has also repeatedly criticized fellow Republicans for taking a hard-line stance on the issue, blaming candidates who did not allow for exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is at risk, for the GOP’s setbacks in the 2022 midterm elections.On the campaign trail during his White House run, Pence repeatedly highlighted, “I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it.” And he told reporters in Iowa in August, “I reject the notion that standing for the sanctity of life is a political loser.”A month later, after Trump declined to support Florida’s controversial six-week abortion ban, Pence in a Fox News interview, accused the former president of “backing away” from the anti-abortion cause.Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.
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