(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump took credit for curtailing federal abortion rights, though he stopped short of outlining whether he would support further restrictions in a second term as the issue gained fresh attention after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled unimplanted human embryos are children.

The ex-president and 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner referenced the three US Supreme Court justices that he appointed during his administration that tilted the court in conservatives’ favor and subsequently led to the 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade, which had protected abortion access since 1973.

“I was able to bring this issue for the first time in 54 years back to the states,” Trump said Thursday at a convention for Christian broadcasters in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Trump also nodded at how politically perilous the issue is for his party. The repeal of federal abortion rights is considered among the reasons for Republicans’ underwhelming showing in the 2022 midterm election cycle. The party has shown little sign of landing on a salient message to voters. 

Many measures intended to curtail abortion rights that appeared on state ballots since the US Supreme Court decision have failed. 

“We also have to remember that we have to have people elected. You have to get people elected. But what a difference a president makes. You saw that during my term,” Trump said.

Justices on Alabama’s top court last week recognized unimplanted human embryos as children, a decision that will likely make it more difficult for people to access fertility treatments and embolden anti-abortion groups seeking to build legal support for fetal personhood.

Trump’s remarks before the National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention come days before he faces former UN Ambassador and ex-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in that state’s presidential primary. 

Ahead by a wide margin in polls, Trump has sought to pivot to a general election matchup with President Joe Biden. Evangelical Christians are a major bloc in Trump’s coalition. 

Faith-Based Voters

They remain ardent backers of the former president, unwavering in their support even as he faces a slew of civil and criminal cases, including 91 felony counts across four indictments. 

Trump has long espoused allowing exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother and is telling allies he supports a 16-week abortion ban. Biden’s campaign and Democrats have seized on those reports, assailing Trump for seeking a “nationwide ban.” Democrats believe Republican restrictions on abortion will help draw suburban women, young people and independents to the polls in November to aid the president’s reelection bid.

Earlier: Donald Trump Tells Allies He Backs 16-Week Abortion Ban

A 16-week ban would be far less restrictive than limits favored by much of his party. Many Republican states in the wake of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade have instituted tougher laws, including bans on the procedure after six-weeks, a time-frame before many women even know they are pregnant. 

Polls show most Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

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