Trump Says He'll Announce His Position on Abortion Monday, A Key Moment in the Presidential Race

NEW YORK (AP) -- Former President Donald Trump says he will finally announce Monday when he believes abortions should be banned, after months of refusing to stake a position on an issue that could decide the outcome of November's presidential election.

The presumptive Republican nominee wrote on his social media site Sunday night that he plans to issue a statement on "abortion and abortion rights." He told reporters last week he would make a statement soon after being asked about Florida's six-week abortion ban going into effect.

Trump for more than a year now has declined to say when in a pregnancy he would try to draw the line, even as Republican-led states have ushered in a wave of new restrictions following the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022. His announcement will be closely watched both by Democrats who believe the fight over abortion rights helps them at the polls and Republicans who failed to push Trump to endorse a national abortion ban during the GOP primary.

"Great love and compassion must be shown when even thinking about the subject of LIFE," Trump wrote on his social media site, "but at the same time we must use common sense in realizing that we have an obligation to the salvation of our Nation, which is currently in serious DECLINE, TO WIN ELECTIONS, without which we will have nothing other than failure, death, and destruction."

Trump had long argued that the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe gave those who oppose abortion rights "tremendous power to negotiate." He said he wanted to use that leverage to strike a deal that he hoped would "make both sides happy" and bring the country "together" -- even though the issue is one of the most contentious in American politics, with opponents viewing abortion as murder and proponents seeing it as a fundamental women's right.

Trump suggested last month in a radio interview that he was leaning toward supporting a national abortion ban at around 15 weeks of pregnancy -- early in the second trimester.

"The number of weeks now, people are agreeing on 15. And I'm thinking in terms of that," he said on WABC radio. "And it'll come out to something that's very reasonable. But people are really, even hard-liners are agreeing, seems to be, 15 weeks seems to be a number that people are agreeing at."

At the same time, Trump seemed reluctant to embrace a federal ban.

"Everybody agrees -- you've heard this for years -- all the legal scholars on both sides agree: It's a state issue. It shouldn't be a federal issue, it's a state issue," he said.

Trump has tried to thread the needle on abortion throughout the campaign. He routinely takes credit for appointing the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade, which he has called a "moral and unconstitutional atrocity," and has called himself the "most pro-life president in American history."

But he has also repeatedly criticized fellow Republicans for being too hard-line on the issue, blaming candidates who did not allow for exceptions in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the pregnant person is at risk for the party's losses that November.

"A lot of politicians who are pro-life do not know how to discuss this topic and they lose their election. We had a lot of election losses because of this, because they didn't know to discuss it. They had no idea," he said at the Concerned Women of America 2023 Leadership Summit.

Democrats and President Joe Biden's campaign, meanwhile, have been spotlighting the issue as they work to draw a contrast with Trump.

Polling has consistently shown that most Americans believe abortion should be legal through the initial stages of pregnancy. About half of U.S. adults said abortions should be permitted at the 15-week mark, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted last June.

Data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the vast majority of abortions from 2012 to 2021 were performed within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.

The Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision established the constitutional right to abortion until the time of viability, at around 23 or 24 weeks into pregnancy.

Abortions later in pregnancy are rare and are often performed due to serious fetal abnormalities, when the life of the mother is at risk, or when women have faced significant delays accessing the procedure, according to the health policy research firm KFF.