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Kennedy beats hasty retreat from support for “full term abortion”

by | May 16, 2024

By Dave Andrusko

Last Friday we wrote about Robert F. Kennedy Jr., running as an independent for president, who in a podcast with host Sage Steel, unabashedly came out in support of “full term abortion.” Under heat from his own campaign, in a 439-word-long social media post Friday evening, Kennedy quickly retreated.

After beginning with a justification for his hastily-jettison abortion throughout pregnancy position, Kennedy said he had just learned of “purely ‘elective’” late-term abortion,” which he wrote “are very upsetting.”

“Once the baby is viable outside the womb, it should have rights and it deserves society’s protection,” he now concluded.

Why the reversal? For the best of reason: “I learned this because I was willing to listen — to my family, advisors, supporters, and others who shared their perspectives.”

Kennedy’s new position—no doubt subject to further “listening”– is

I support the emerging consensus that abortion should be unrestricted up until a certain point. I believe that point should be when the baby is viable outside the womb. Therefore I would allow appropriate restrictions on abortion in the final months of pregnancy, just as Roe v. Wade did.

The entourage of people Kennedy ”listened” to included his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, and campaign advisor Angela Stanton King, who in a social post [https://twitter.com/theAuntieAngie/status/1788665423849828403] said “To be completely transparent, this is the first time I’ve heard this perspective directly from Mr. Kennedy. I’ll circle back shortly.”

According to CBS’s Allison Novelo

Hours before Kennedy released his latest stance on abortion rights, Stanton King posted a video on X in which she said that “after a bunch of going back and forth, and not only by me, but also people on the campaign, we’ve all come to the agreement that late-term abortion is not something that this campaign is going to support.”

But that’s just the start.

Nicole Shanahan, his running mate, had her own sit-down with Steele, which was released a week earlier than Kennedy’s interview. Shanahan revealed that she was not aware Kennedy was against limits on abortion.  

 

“My understanding with Bobby’s position is that, you know, every abortion is a tragedy, is a loss of life,” Shanahan said. “My understanding is that he absolutely believes in limits on abortion, and we’ve talked about this. I do not think, I don’t know where that came from.”

 

“That is not my understanding of his position and I think maybe there was a miscommunication there,” she added.

 

In response to the inconsistency between Kennedy and Shanahan, the campaign told CBS News in a statement Thursday that Kennedy believed, “the mother has the final say,” before Kennedy changed his mind again Friday night

Last week, we quoted the exchange between Steele and Kennedy in great detail. There was no mistaking Kennedy’s stance on abortion:                                                               

He said he believes “there is a compelling argument that the state has a interest in protecting a fully formed fetus,” but adding second later “again I come down to the fact that I don’t trust the state, and I think we need to trust the woman.” 

 

Steele asks, “So, in other words, keeping it is as it with Roe v. Wade having been overturned and leaving it up to the states to determine if and when a woman can have abortion?”

 

Kennedy: “No, I wouldn’t leave it to the states.”

 

Steele: “You would say it’s up to the woman.”

 

Kennedy: “I believe you should leave it to the woman. We shouldn’t have government involved.”

 

Steele: “Even if it’s full term?”

 

Pause

 

Kennedy: “Even if it’s full term.”

Categories: Politics