Burgum says he’s ‘evolved’ on abortion since saying women ‘unsafe’ in America before Roe v. Wade

June 30, 2024

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R), a leading vice presidential contender for former President Trump, said on Sunday he has “evolved” in his position on abortion access in the eight years since he suggested women were unsafe before Roe v. Wade.

In an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press,” anchor Kristen Welker pressed Burgum about a clip she played from his 2016 gubernatorial campaign, when Burgum expressed concern about outlawing abortions.

“When you outlaw the ability to terminate pregnancies and make it illegal, it just makes it unsafe for some of the most vulnerable people in the world — young women who are scared, who are afraid, who are in a spot, you know, that they don’t want to be in,” Burgum said in the clip from 2016. “America was an unsafe place for women before Roe v. Wade.”

Burgum on Sunday said his views have changes on the issue — the Supreme Court overruled the constitutional right to abortions two years ago — and sought to align his current position on abortion with the former president’s.

Welker followed the clip by asking, “So, by your own standard, governor, is America unsafe for women as a result of Roe being overturned?”

“No, it’s not,” Burgum responded. “And, of course, this is something that should have been returned to the states.”

“Let’s be clear, that was a comment from over eight years ago. And certainly, I’ve evolved in that position,” he said, explaining that he now believes abortion laws should be left up to states.

“And I have been clear that I’m opposed to a federal abortion ban. I’m aligned with President Trump on that, and this is something that has to be left to the states,” Burgum said.

Burgum dismissed a question on whether his views have evolved now that he wants to be vice president to Trump, saying instead the key difference is on the quality of maternal care.

“Not at all,” Burgum said, on whether his evolution is linked to his VP prospects. “I think you know and everybody else knows that care has evolved during that period of time. And I think that we can accomplish both of those goals. We can make sure that we’re protecting and honoring life but making sure we’re also delivering against maternal care. And that’s going to be handled best at a state-by-state level.”