Source: CNN

A key adviser to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign who guided Kennedy on a number of key issues, including on abortion, is stepping away from the campaign.

Angela Stanton King, the Kennedy campaign’s Black voter outreach director who played a large role in shaping the independent candidate’s positions on abortion and criminal justice, said in a social media post Tuesday night that she’s “decided to step away from the political theatre.”

Stanton King confirmed to CNN on Wednesday she is stepping down from her role in the campaign, but intends to informally advise Kennedy on select issues.

“After much reflection, I’ve decided to step away from the political theatre. The increasingly hateful and divisive atmosphere no longer aligns with my values. I will continue to advise RFK Jr. on key community issues. Now, it’s time for me to pursue peace and fully dedicate myself to nonprofit work, supporting pregnant women and returning citizens. This new chapter excites me, as I focus on making a tangible difference where it’s needed most,” Stanton King wrote on social media.

Her departure comes shortly after the Kennedy campaign shifted its position on abortion access multiple times, drawing blowback from both abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion groups – including, at one point, Stanton King herself.

Kennedy said in a podcast interview earlier this month he opposes any government limits on abortion and said he supported keeping abortion legal “even if it’s full term,” referring to a potential abortion performed near the expected delivery date of a child.

Stanton King, a former Republican and Trump supporter, publicly criticized Kennedy’s comments in social media posts. After Kennedy reached out to her directly, he ultimately walked back those comments the following day. In a social media post clarifying his position, Kennedy said abortion should be restricted “in the final months of pregnancy.” He did not say specifically the number of weeks of gestation at which he would limit access to abortion but signaled support for restrictions based on the framework created through Roe v. Wade, which established a constitutional right to abortion access before fetal viability.

Most experts say fetal viability occurs at around 23-24 weeks.

In a podcast interview last week, Kennedy running mate Nicole Shanahan said the campaign supports federal limits restricting abortion access “between 15 and 18 weeks.” In a statement to CNN, campaign spokesperson Stefanie Spear said Shanahan’s comments do not reflect Kennedy’s views and that Kennedy supports restrictions “at fetal viability.”

“Mr. Kennedy’s position differs from Ms. Shanahan’s, in that he believes the cutoff should be at fetal viability. But both are aligned with the emerging national consensus of no restrictions up till a certain point and restrictions thereafter,” Spear told CNN.

Stanton King also played a key role in ushering Shanahan on to the campaign trail. Stanton King helped organize and moderate the first public campaign event Shanahan spoke at in Houston earlier this month, where Shanahan spoke fondly of connecting with Stanton King on a number of issues, including abortion and criminal justice.

 “Angela, when I was chatting with you a few weeks ago, there was one point in which I was sitting here and you’re sitting there, and I just saw this gold light in your eye,” Shanahan said at the Houston event. “You were talking to me about why you’re a pro-lifer. And I realized in that moment there was nothing you could say that I could disagree with because it was coming from a place of fierce, fierce protection for the mothers and children in your community.”

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