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Is RFK Jr. an Abortion Radical or Not?

State of the Union: The independent’s flip-flopping stance on abortion might eat into his MAGA appeal.

(In The Light Photography/Shutterstock)

It’s been a bad week for RFK Jr.’s presidential campaign.

Not only has he faced copious memes that have flooded the internet since news of his “parasitic brain-eating worm” came out; Kennedy also has gotten himself into hot water with the pro-life movement. 


On May 8, the Independent presidential hopeful was featured on the former ESPN anchor Sage Steele’s podcast. Up until then, RFK had not discussed the abortion issue that much—as his campaign spokeswoman, Stefanie Spear, commented to the Washington Post that he would rather not “add fuel to the fire” or “dwell on the subject” of abortion.

Even though he conceded that the decision to have an abortion should be “up to the woman,” not the government (federal or state), Kennedy also had gone on the record saying, “Every abortion is a tragedy. Many of them leave permanent trauma on a woman.”

When pressed on whether he supports a woman’s “right to choose” up until birth, however, Kennedy, after a slight hesitation, said he would. 

This is a radical perspective, even for those who claim to be pro-choice, and a confusing stance for RFK to take at this point in his campaign.

Even Kennedy’s running mate, Nicole Shanahan, was taken aback by RFK’s new abortion stance. 


“That is not Bobby’s position, at least as far as I understand it,” Shanahan said in her own episode of Steele’s podcast. “My understanding with Bobby’s position is that, you know, every abortion is a tragedy, is a loss of life…. I don’t know where that came from.”

Just as recently as August 2023, Kennedy said he would support a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks of gestation. “I believe a decision to abort a child should be up to the women during the first three months of life,” Kennedy told NBC. “Once a child is viable, outside the womb, I think then the state has an interest in protecting the child.”

His campaign then claimed he had “misunderstood” the question: “Mr. Kennedy’s position on abortion is that it is always the woman’s right to choose…. He does not support legislation banning abortion.”

Either way, the pro-life movement is now up in arms about Kennedy’s recent statements. 

The fallout from this interview might serve as a threat to the already questionable success of RFK’s campaign, as he has historically appealed to right-wing voters unsure about whether or not they should cast their ballots for Trump in November.