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Factbox-RFK Jr. on abortion, vaccines, housing and foreign policy


Factbox-RFK Jr. on abortion, vaccines, housing and foreign policy By Reuters

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Published Mar 20, 2024 11:11AM ET
Updated Mar 20, 2024 02:42PM ET

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. holds a roundtable discussion on local impacts of the influx of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border, with Cochise County law enforcement, elected officials and community members, at C

(Reuters) – Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a scion of the famed Kennedy family, initially sought the Democratic Party’s nomination for president but dropped that effort in October and re-entered the race for the White House as an independent.

A long-time environmental activist and anti-vaccine advocate, the 70-year-old Kennedy is campaigning on a platform targeting institutions such as pharmaceutical and tech companies.

He is the son of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 during his own presidential bid.

Here are a summary of his positions:


Kennedy defends Israel’s right to respond to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack with its strikes on Gaza and questioned the value of a temporary ceasefire, arguing it will only allow Hamas to rearm itself.

He makes a distinction between moral wars that must be fought and wars of choice, which should be avoided. He says the Vietnam War and World War I were wars of choice for the United States, while Israel had a moral obligation to respond with force to Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

He believes the international community – and the United States – could have done more to help Israel deal with the Hamas threat and avoid the conflict.

Kennedy has called the Russia-Ukraine war an “unnecessary war”that should be settled “through negotiations, through diplomacy, through statecraft, and not through weapons.”

Kennedy has been a frequent critic of America’s involvement in supporting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, which he has repeatedly referred to as a “proxy war” that he claimed on social media platform X is being fought “all for the sake of U.S. (imagined) geopolitical interests.”


Kennedy has previously taken different positions on the issue, including restrictions on when a woman can access an abortion. He told Reuters he thought every abortion was a “tragedy” but that it should be a woman’s right “throughout the pregnancy.”

Late-term abortions are “horrible, but I don’t think that there’s any woman in the world would want to carry a baby to eight months and then have an abortion” without some extenuating circumstance.


Kennedy has been criticized for making false medical claims, including that vaccines are linked to autism. He opposed state and federal COVID-19 restrictions and was accused of spreading misinformation about the virus.

He disputes the anti-vaccine tag, but chaired the Children’s Health Defense, a nonprofit organization that focuses on anti-vaccine messaging.

He told Reuters every American who wants a vaccine for themselves or their children will have access to them if he is elected president, but said he doubted the efficacy of measles vaccines and would increase scrutiny of the efficacy and potential consequences of the preventive treatments.

Measles is one of the most contagious human viruses and is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. It requires 95% vaccine coverage to prevent outbreaks among populations. However, U.S. coverage rates have fallen below that level among young children, the CDC reports.


Kennedy wants to provide tax free, 3% government-backed mortgage bonds, to bring the mortgage interest rate back to 2019 levels and even lower.

Some economists have suggested that would drive up demand and housing prices. Kennedy says he would twin the plan with an aggressive affordable housing program that would create new inventory to meet the demand.

His campaign argues this measure alone will reduce monthly costs for the average home purchase by $1,000.


Kennedy has several ideas for reducing student loan debt.

He supports allowing students to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates to reduce monthly payments and backs a separate plan to abolish interest on new and existing student loans that failed to get through U.S. Congress in 2022.

Kennedy is also campaigning on placing the responsibility on colleges and universities, instead of loan institutions and banks, when it comes to loan defaults in an effort to incentivize universities to lower tuition costs.


Kennedy views the situation at the southern border as a humanitarian crisis. He has pledged to focus on securing the border with a goal of ending illegal immigration while expanding America’s lawful immigration system.

He wants to hire more immigration judges and agents to help prevent more illegal crossings and more quickly deal with proper asylum claims.

He opposes former President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the southern border and says he prefers to utilize technology such as cameras, lights and motion detectors to deter crossings.

He has also been deeply critical of Biden’s management of the southern border, even backing Texas in its dispute over who security measures at the border.

“Texas is right. Biden’s failure to secure the border leaves states no choice but to take matters into their own hands,” Kennedy wrote in a post on X.


Kennedy vows to repeal key elements of President Joe Biden’s signature climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides billions in tax credits to industries like hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel to accelerate the transition to a green economy.

He says most of the tax breaks will benefit the oil industry and help them to stay in business by giving them tools to lower their carbon footprint – such as carbon sequestration – while continuing to operate.

Factbox-RFK Jr. on abortion, vaccines, housing and foreign policy

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