RFK Jr. Has No Clear Stance On 1 Of The Biggest Issues Of The 2024 Election

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the independent candidate for president, can’t seem to get his position straight on abortion despite access to the procedure being one of the biggest issues of the 2024 election.

The potential spoiler candidate for either Joe Biden’s or Donald Trump’s much more viable campaigns has taken wildly different stances on the issue in recent days, even publicly conflicting with his campaign staff and running mate.

Most recently, he issued a lengthy statement last Friday evening saying “abortion should be legal up until a certain number of weeks,” until the point of fetal viability outside the womb. He said he only supports “gruesome” third-trimester abortions when needed to save the life of the mother ― even though numerous incidents since the fall of Roe v. Wade show that supposed safeguard is ineffective.

But just days earlier, Kennedy professed a wildly different stance on the issue. In an interview that aired last Wednesday on former ESPN host Sage Steele’s podcast, he said he was against any government restrictions on the procedure “even if it’s full term.” He also pushed back on Steele’s claims that patients may terminate a pregnancy late into a term “when there’s drugs involved and people aren’t thinking,” repeatedly telling her it’s important to trust women with decisions about their bodies.

Abortions performed after 21 weeks of pregnancy represent only 1% of abortions performed in the United States.

The comments apparently caught one of his advisers completely off guard.

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. keeps flip-flopping on abortion.
Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. keeps flip-flopping on abortion. Pacific Press via Getty Images

“To be completely transparent, this is the first time I’ve heard this perspective directly from Mr. Kennedy,” his adviser Angela Stanton King posted on social media. She later released a video saying she’d spoken with Kennedy and that he’d be releasing a new statement on the matter.

Kennedy’s running mate, Nicole Shanahan, also thought he had a different stance on abortion.

“My understanding with Bobby’s position is that, you know, every abortion is a tragedy, is a loss of life,” Shanahan said on an episode of Steele’s podcast that aired a week before Kennedy’s, referring to him by his nickname. “My understanding is that he absolutely believes in limits on abortion, and we’ve talked about this.

Kennedy’s inconsistencies on abortion date back to the early months of his campaign. When a reporter asked him last August if he’d support a federal ban on abortion after the first trimester, he replied: “Yes, I would.”

His campaign quickly tried to walk back his remarks, saying he misunderstood the question “in a crowded, noisy exhibit hall at the Iowa State Fair.”

“Mr. Kennedy’s position on abortion is that it is always the woman’s right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion,” his campaign said in a statement.

But as Kennedy’s campaign has progressed, it’s become clear abortion isn’t something he’s comfortable speaking about, even though tens of millions of women of childbearing age have have been directly affected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to wipe out federal protections for the procedure in 2022.

A Washington Post analysis last month found that Kennedy, who’s best known for spreading anti-vaccine misinformation, only mentioned the word “abortion” twice in the 11 speeches and campaign events that appear on his YouTube page. He mentioned “vaccine” 10 times.

When asked for an explanation, his campaign told the Post that Kennedy doesn’t want to focus on abortion.

“Mr. Kennedy does not want to add fuel to the fire,” campaign spokeswoman Stefanie Spear said.

Other issues, such as chronic disease, she continued, “have the potential to unify the country, unlike abortion, which is fundamentally divisive.”