Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said that he would support a federal ban on abortions after three months of pregnancy, but his campaign quickly walked it back.
Speaking to NBC News at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday, the Democratic presidential nominee said, “I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life.”
NBC reporter Ali Vitali replied, “so you would cap it at 15 weeks?”
“Yes,” Kennedy replied, according to a transcript of the conversation that Vitali posted on X.
Here’s the full exchange with Kennedy, in which I ask the questions multiple times to make sure we’re understanding- even at one point saying I was surprised by the stance.
— Ali Vitali (@alivitali) August 14, 2023
“Or 21 weeks?” Vitali followed up.
“Yes, three months,” Kennedy asserted
“So three months, you would sign a federal cap on that?” Vitali asked.
Kennedy responded that he would.
“Once a child is viable, outside the womb, I think then the state has an interest in protecting the child,” Kennedy said.
The candidate noted that very few abortions are performed after that time frame anyways, to which the reporter agreed.
As soon as the candidate’s statements began gaining interest on social media, the campaign claimed that he had misunderstood the questions.
— Edward-Isaac Dovere (@IsaacDovere) August 14, 2023
“Today, Mr. Kennedy misunderstood a question posed to him by a NBC reporter in a crowded, noisy exhibit hall at the Iowa State Fair,” the campaign said. “Mr. Kennedy’s position on abortion is that it is always the woman’s right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion.”
The statement was not attributed to Kennedy himself.
The campaign’s statement prompted Vitali to publish the transcript on social media. NBC also published a video of the conversation.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr Says States Have a Right to Cap Abortions at Three Months
“I believe that a decision to abort a child should be up to the women up to the first three months of life…Once a child is viable outside the womb, I think then a state has an interest in protecting… pic.twitter.com/TlAPD3L0Bl
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) August 14, 2023
“Here’s the full exchange with Kennedy, in which I ask the questions multiple times to make sure we’re understanding- even at one point saying I was surprised by the stance,” Vitali wrote.