Abortion is not fading as a driving issue in America, coming up again and again everywhere policy is decided: in legislatures, courts, the Oval Office and voting booths.
An 11-point liberal victory in a pivotal Wisconsin Supreme Court race last week was fueled by the issue. Days later, a Texas judge invalidated the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion drug mifepristone (late Wednesday, an appeals court partly stayed the ruling but imposed some restrictions). And Florida, under Gov. Ron DeSantis, a likely Republican presidential candidate, is poised to ban abortion after six weeks’ gestation.
The fallout from the Supreme Court’s revocation of a constitutional right to abortion last year looks poised to be a major issue in the upcoming presidential race. So where do the likely candidates stand?
Here is what some of the most prominent contenders, declared and likely, have said and done:
President Biden condemned the ruling invalidating the approval of mifepristone, which his administration is appealing, and called it “another unprecedented step in taking away basic freedoms from women and putting their health at risk.”
Mr. Biden has a complicated history with abortion; before his 2020 presidential campaign, he supported restrictions, including the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding for most abortions. But he has since spoken more forcefully in defense of unfettered access, including endorsing congressional codification of the rights Roe v. Wade used to protect.
White House officials have said he is not willing to disregard the mifepristone ruling, as some abortion-rights activists have urged.
Who’s Running for President in 2024?
The race begins. Four years after a historically large number of candidates ran for president, the field for the 2024 campaign is starting out small and is likely to be headlined by the same two men who ran last time: President Biden and Donald Trump. Here’s who has entered the race so far, and who else might run:
Donald Trump. The former president is running to retake the office he lost in 2020. Though somewhat diminished in influence within the Republican Party — and facing several legal investigations — he retains a large and committed base of supporters, and he could be aided in the primary by multiple challengers splitting a limited anti-Trump vote.
Nikki Haley. The former governor of South Carolina and U.N. ambassador under Trump has presented herself as a member of “a new generation of leadership” and emphasized her life experience as a daughter of Indian immigrants. She was long seen as a rising G.O.P. star but her allure in the party has declined amid her on-again, off-again embrace of Trump.
Vivek Ramaswamy. The multimillionaire entrepreneur and author describes himself as “anti-woke” and is known in right-wing circles for opposing corporate efforts to advance political, social and environmental causes. He has never held elected office and does not have the name recognition of most other G.O.P. contenders.
Asa Hutchinson. The former governor of Arkansas is one of a relatively small number of Republicans who have been openly critical of Trump. Hutchinson has denounced the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and said Trump should drop out of the presidential race.
President Biden. While Biden has not formally declared his candidacy for a second term, he is widely expected to run. But there has been much hand-wringing among Democrats over whether he should seek re-election given his age. If he does run, Biden’s strategy is to frame the race as a contest between a seasoned leader and a conspiracy-minded opposition.
Marianne Williamson. The self-help author and former spiritual adviser to Oprah Winfrey is running for a second time. In her 2020 campaign, the Democrat called for a federal Department of Peace, supported reparations for slavery and called Trumpism a symptom of an illness in the American psyche that could not be cured with political policies.
Others who might run. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire are seen as weighing Republican bids for the White House. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a longtime vaccine skeptic, filed paperwork to run as a Democrat.
Mr. Biden has said he is planning to run in 2024, but has not formally declared his candidacy.
Donald J. Trump
More than perhaps any other Republican, former President Donald J. Trump is responsible for the current state of abortion access: He appointed three of the six Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and the district judge who invalidated the approval of mifepristone. But lately, he has been loath to talk about it.
Last year, Mr. Trump privately expressed concern that the ruling overturning Roe would hurt Republicans — and it did, both in the midterms and in the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.
If elected again, he would be under tremendous pressure from the social conservatives who have fueled the Republican Party for decades — and who helped elect him in 2016 — to support a national ban. He has not said whether he would do so.
Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, whom polls show as the top potential Republican competitor to Mr. Trump, is pushing forward with the Florida Legislature to ban most abortions after six weeks. The bill passed on Thursday and was sent to Mr. DeSantis’s desk. Polls show that most Americans, including Floridians, oppose six-week bans.
It is a more aggressive posture than he took last year, when Florida enacted a ban after 15 weeks and Mr. DeSantis — facing re-election in November — did not commit to going further. He made his move after winning re-election by a sweeping margin.
At a campaign event in Iowa this week, Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina and former United Nations ambassador, gestured away from anti-abortion absolutism — saying that she did not “want unelected judges deciding something this personal.”
But her comments were muddled: She said she wanted to leave the issue to the states, but at the same time suggested that she would be open to a federal ban if she thought there was momentum for one.
“This is about saving as many babies as we can,” she said, while adding that she did not want to play the “game” of specifying when in pregnancy she believed abortion should be allowed.
Since starting his presidential campaign this month, former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas has said only that he is “proud to stand squarely on my pro-life position” when it comes to abortion.
He has not detailed what, if any, federal legislation he would support.
Last year, Mr. Hutchinson criticized the lack of an exception for rape and incest in an Arkansas abortion ban he had signed. When he signed it, he said that he wanted the exception but legislators didn’t, and that he accepted their judgment as the will of voters — though a poll last year found that more than 70 percent of Arkansans supported such an exception.
A staunch social conservative, former Vice President Mike Pence has been more open than most Republicans about continuing to advertise his opposition to abortion.
“Life won again today,” he said in a statement on the mifepristone ruling. “When it approved chemical abortions on demand, the F.D.A. acted carelessly and with blatant disregard for human life.”
Last year, Mr. Pence said anti-abortion activists “must not rest” until abortion was outlawed nationwide. Mr. Pence is considering a 2024 run, but has not formally joined the race.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina repeatedly dodged questions about whether he supported federal restrictions on abortion in the days after announcing a presidential exploratory committee this week.
Asked in an interview with CBS News whether he supported a 15-week ban, he called himself “100 percent pro-life.” When the interviewer suggested that his stance indicated he would support a 15-week ban, he replied, “That’s not what I said.”
On Thursday, he told WMUR, a New Hampshire news station, that he would support a 20-week ban, but still did not say whether he would back something stricter.