RFK Jr.’s Running Mate Parrots Right-Wing Talking Points About Abortion

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s running mate Nicole Shanahan weighed in on the pair’s stance on abortion rights in a new podcast, declaring that Kennedy believes “every abortion is a tragedy” while insisting that most women considering an abortion would not go through with it if they were provided the necessary resources.

Shanahan was interviewed by former ESPN anchor Sage Steele for thea May 1 episode of her weekly podcast, the Sage Steele Show. During the conversation, Steele brought up a discussion she said she had with RFK Jr., in which he allegedly said he supported a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy up until the moment of birth.

“That is not Bobby’s position as I understand it,” Shanahan responded. “My understanding with Bobby’s position is that every abortion is a tragedy, is a loss of life. My understanding is that he absolutely believes in the limits on abortion.”

She went on to say that her running mate only thinks women should feel like it’s their choice—not that it actually should be.

“If you’re forcing a woman to have a baby, that is a very painful situation for that woman to be in,” she said. “What you need to do is create an environment in which that woman realizes this is a beautiful opportunity to become a mom and to welcome a new life into this world, and that it is the most sacred, wonderful thing.”

“I think that’s what Bobby means,” she added, “ I think Bobby means it should always feel like you are moving into this moment on your own accord.”

Later, Shanahan said she believed that if women were provided with adequate resources, they would almost never choose to have an abortion.

“I think if you and I came together to help a young woman [considering an abortion], we would figure out how to do it really well,” she told Steele. “In spite of all of these legislative things, we would come together and we would help a woman … come to a decision that she feels really good about for the rest of her life.”

“And I believe that if given the resources, almost 10 times out of 10, she does end up choosing to have that baby,” she added. “And that’s where this discussion needs to go.”

The interview comes amid growing concerns about the third-party candidates’ views on abortion. Kennedy previously said he would support a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, though his campaign later said he would not sign one. And Shanahan landed in the spotlight last month after an old interview resurfaced in which she called IVF “one of the biggest lies that’s being told about women’s health today.”

The uncertainty around the pair’s position led at least one group, the Reproductive Freedom for All Freedom Fund, to launch an ad campaign claiming that Kennedy and Shanahan would “put your reproductive freedom at risk.”

In Wednesday’s interview, Shanahan attempted to clarify her stance on IVF, saying she is not opposed to IVF fertility care for women. She argued that her opposition largely centers on the massive fees charged by private equity-owned clinics.

But she also parroted inaccurate right-wing talking points about abortion clinics targeting lower-income women and women of color.

“You look at the abortion clinics—many of which are in low income neighborhoods—and we’re investing in those at a far higher rate than we’re investing in ending the cycle of poverty in those neighborhoods, and you clearly see there’s an issue here,” Shanahan said. (U.S. law prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions in nearly all cases.)

The VP candidate also suggested that she was open to shortening the time frame in which women can get abortions, saying she thought about term limits “in terms of viability—and that is becoming earlier and earlier.”

“The science is changing around that all of the time,” she added.

Shanahan previously outlined her views on abortion in a post on X last month. “As a mom, and a person with a womb, I don’t like the feeling of anyone having control over my body. It is coercive. It is wrong,” she wrote. Still, she continued, “I am also a woman that would not feel right terminating a viable life living inside of me, especially if I am both healthy and that baby is healthy.”

Shanahan said she would contemplate terminating a pregnancy if there were risks to her or her the fetus, or if the baby was going to be “born into a situation that cannot sustain a good and healthy life.” She said that, in cases where a mother faced financial concerns, she would support “bringing babies into the world through community support of BOTH mother and baby.”

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for Kennedy directed The Daily Beast to his campaign website, which details his position on abortion. The somewhat vague platform laments that public debate is divided between those who are “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” Instead, Kennedy proposes a third option, which centers on heavily subsidized daycare: “More Choices, More Life.”

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