Robert Kennedy Jr. had the Democratic Party worried over the weekend. The candidate made a statement about abortion that was more in line with the Republican agenda, and his campaign had to come out afterward to clarify what happened, claiming that it was all a simple misunderstanding.
RFK Jr. was in Iowa on Saturday, participating in the State Fair. In the middle of his activities, he gave an NBC interview, where he was directly asked about the proposal of some Republicans to restrict abortion after three months of pregnancy.
"I believe that the decision to abort a child should be up to women during the first three months of life. Once the child is viable, out of the womb, then I think the state has an interest in protecting the child," the Democrat said, adding that he does not frown upon a federal ban on abortion after 15 or 21 weeks of pregnancy.
Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is asked about abortion rights. Watch him talk in circles for 90 seconds, unable to answer the question. His campaign issued a statement saying he “misunderstood the question”. (Video: NBC) pic.twitter.com/XkleulQh2U
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) August 14, 2023
Of course, the comments went viral instantly since it is uncommon to hear someone seeking to be the Democratic presidential nominee give such an opinion. After the remarks, his campaign had to explain why he said what he did.
"Today, Mr. Kennedy misunderstood a question he was asked by an NBC reporter in a crowded and noisy exhibit hall at the Iowa State Fair. Mr. Kennedy's position on abortion is that it is always a woman's right to choose. He does not support legislation banning abortion," they wrote in a press release.
A popular conservative group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-life America, praised the original statement from the candidate of the Kennedy dynasty. According to them, it evidenced a "stark contrast to the Democratic Party's radical stance on abortion on demand." They added in a post that "Kennedy is one of the few prominent Democrats aligned with the consensus of the people today. Every candidate should be asked, 'Where do you draw the line?'"
The Democrat is far behind Joe Biden in the Democratic primary polls, which currently have the president, RFK Jr. and Marianne Williamson as the only viable options.
Abortion is an issue that also divides candidates in the Republican primaries. For example, some favor the three-month restriction Kennedy Jr. was referring to, such as Mike Pence or Tim Scott. Others, like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, have yet to share their position.