Donald Trump is now saying US abortion laws should remain unchanged, although he believes the procedure amounts to murder.
In an interview with CBS News, the Republican presidential hopeful said: “The laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way.”
Donald Trump’s comments come as the New York property tycoon has struggled this week to articulate his position on abortion.
He withdrew a call for women who have abortions to be punished, only hours after suggesting it.
After an outpouring of criticism from both anti-abortion and abortion rights activists, Donald Trump later said only the people who perform abortions should face punishment.
The comments end a rocky week for Donald Trump on the campaign trail.
According to some polls, Donald Trump is trailing Texas Senator Ted Cruz by 10 percentage points in Wisconsin, which holds its primary on April 5.
Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump’s Republican rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich repeatedly criticized Trump’s shifting comments on abortion.
Ted Cruz said the remarks showed that Donald Trump “hasn’t seriously thought through the issues”.
John Kasich – the popular governor of Ohio – also questioned whether Donald Trump had the temperament needed for the office of the president.
Donald Trump supports a ban on abortions, with some exceptions.
Only the Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment has the power to overturn Roe v Wade and make abortion illegal.
After the comments were made public, Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks sought to clarify his statement.
Hope Hicks said that Donald Trump would change abortion laws if elected by appointing Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v Wade.
Once a Democrat, Donald Trump has been criticized for supporting abortion rights in the past.
Anti-abortion activists have traditionally avoided placing blame on women who undergo abortions, but have focused on those who perform the procedure.
In recent years, conservatives have sought to tighten restrictions on abortion clinics and doctors rather than seek an outright ban.
Abortion rights advocates say these measures are meant to restrict women’s access to abortion.
The new laws are particularly widespread in conservative southern states.
Republican leaders have expressed concern about Donald Trump’s prospects in the general election because polls show that he is extremely unpopular with female voters.
Donald Trump has come under fire for disparaging women including former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and TV presenter Megyn Kelly.