President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE offered a preview of his message on abortion to activists and supporters in a call Thursday as he plans to make it a focus of his re-election campaign.
“He clearly is ready to take this on in the coming presidential election,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Dannenfelser briefed Trump on the issue at the White House before he participated in a nationwide conference call with activist groups and 4,500 other participants.
Trump has increasingly focused on abortion as he prepares for what will likely be a tough re-election bid, complicated by the ongoing Mueller investigation.
Trump has painted Democrats as extreme on “late-term” abortion in his re-election campaign, following the national conversation about proposals to ease restrictions on the procedure in Virginia and New York.
“The national conversation about late-term abortion… has the power to start to peel away Democrats, especially in battle grounds,” Dannenfelser said.
In the call, which was closed to the press but summarized by Dannenfelser, Trump pushed for a vote in the Senate on a bill that would require medical care be given to babies that survive abortions.
He also highlighted the issue during a campaign stop in El Paso this week and also mentioned it in his State of the Union address.
Trump, who used to identify as “pro-choice,” now has a “deeply held and sincere conviction” about being “pro-life,” Dannenfelser said.
“It’s a politically smart move he has made in advancing human rights in this way, but also it’s the right thing to do, and it’s obvious to me it’s truely felt.”
Trump and Dannenfelser were also joined at the White House Thursday by individuals who say they have a personal connection to abortion or adoption as an alternative.
Anti-abortion groups like the SBA List have put the spotlight on bills in Virginia and New York to ease restrictions on abortions late in pregnancy.
The bill in Virginia, which failed in committee, would have removed a requirement that three doctors have to certify that a third-trimester abortion is necessary to protect a woman's life or health.
A bill recently signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo allows abortions after 24 weeks if the mother’s health is at risk or if the pregnancy is not viable.