Pence calls Trump’s abortion stance a ‘slap in the face’ to supporters

April 8, 2024

Former Vice President Mike Pence blasted former President Trump on Monday for embracing the position that abortion policy should be determined by states and avoiding taking a stance on whether the federal government should enforce a national ban at a certain cutoff point.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Pence — who was Trump’s running mate in 2016 and 2020 —said Trump’s newly announced position on abortion was a “slap in the face” to opponents of abortion rights who voted for their ticket.  

“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,” Pence wrote in his post, before praising the steps their administration took to further the anti-abortion effort.

“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. In the landmark Dobbs decision, the Supreme Court returned the question of abortion to the states and the American people,” Pence wrote.

Pence, who ran for president in 2024 on a fiercely anti-abortion rights platform, has been critical of Trump for equivocating in the past on the issue of abortion.

Pence recently announced he would not endorse Trump’s 2024 candidacy, saying Trump was “walking away” from conservative principles, including “a commitment to the sanctity of life.” Pence also cited Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election as a key reason he was withholding his support.

In his statement Monday, Pence took aim at Republicans who have backed down from boldly embracing an anti-abortion position.

“The American people elect presidents, senators and congressmen, and a majority of Americans long to see minimum national protections for the unborn in federal law. But today, too many Republican politicians are all too ready to wash their hands of the battle for life,” Pence said.

“Republicans win on life when we speak the truth boldly and stand on the principle that we all know to be true — human life begins at conception and should be defended from womb to tomb. 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,” he continued.

Pence’s remarks came after Trump made his most comprehensive statement to date on abortion since becoming the party’s presidential nominee.

In a roughly four-minute video posted to Truth Social, Trump said he was proud to have ended Roe v. Wade through the appointment of conservative Supreme Court justices, but he did not endorse any kind of federal abortion legislation despite pressure to do so from some conservative groups. He said states should determine their own abortion policies.

“My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint,” Trump said. “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.” 

“Many states will be different. Many will have a different number of weeks or some will have more conservative than others and that’s what they will be,” he added. “At the end of the day, this is all about the will of the people. You must follow your heart, or in many cases your religion or your faith.”

The Hill has reached out to Trump’s campaign for a response.