On Donald Trump and the “Supreme” Pro-Life Cause

On Donald Trump and the “Supreme” Pro-Life Cause August 16, 2016

SupremeCourt

The United States Supreme Court [public domain / Wikimedia Commons]

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[various thoughts of mine on various threads]

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You’re in Ohio, the ultimate battleground state (with Florida). If it’s very close there and Trump loses, and you don’t vote, then you and others like you there will have played a key role in getting Hillary elected. She would not have been able to win without you, if that happens. You can rationalize that that is not the case all day long but that is the reality of it. The only way we can prevent Hillary from winning (above all in the close states) is to vote Trump. And seeing what she will do (especially to the Supreme Court), that is more than reason enough.

Those reasons don’t require in the slightest, Trump being a saint or the greatest thing since sliced bread. He’s the GOP candidate. Last time, we didn’t even have a doctrinal Christian (and in many ways, barely a conservative (a “severe” conservative . . . ). That didn’t prevent people from voting for him.

Reagan bedded 50+ women in Hollywood and was also divorced. He signed a bill that resulted in 200,000 abortions before Roe. That didn’t turn conservatives against him. But with Trump, we have Vlad the Impaler and embodiment of evil: He Who Can Do No Good Thing. Satan Incarnate.

*****

If Trump does lose, it will be because of self-described conservatives in the battleground states who refuse to vote for him. I hope they like the consequences of a Hillary victory. It’ll be the end of any hope for pro-life gains, that I and many millions have been fighting for (in my case, since 1982). That will be on the conscience of those who may swing the election in crucial states like Ohio and Florida. If they can live with that in their conscience, they can. I wouldn’t be able to.

I stated, “I am voting for him because he is the better choice of the two.” I didn’t say “lesser of two evils.” Trump does hold to some positions that I do not agree with at all (such as possible recourse to torture), but compared to Hillary, it is exponentially less intrinsic evil, by a long shot. My “anti-Trump” friend in our long discussion noted that the courts would not let him violate our policies on torture, anyway. So that is a likely non-issue in the long run. But of course a radical Supreme Court will ensure that no restrictions on abortion can occur for the rest of my lifetime.

*****

The swing states will determine it, as they have in the last several elections. If Trump loses, it will be because the Dems successfully caused us to divide yet again. There is no way we should lose this election, even if we ran a hamster.The economy and foreign policy are in shambles, and parties rarely retain the presidency more than eight years (the only time since Eisenhower was in 1988). But we can beat ourselves, and may do so again!

It will be because of people like Jeb Bush, Cruz, Kasich, and Fiorina who lied and broke their word, since they pledged to support the GOP candidate, whoever it was. They had to be sore losers and crybabies, and wantonly violate Reagan’s 11th commandment. Kasich alone may cost Trump Ohio, and with that, the election. I hope he’ll be happy with that result if it comes. This is a guy who had no trouble working with Bill Clinton. But he refuses to work with fellow Republican Trump. And that is our problem. We’re too stupid to understand party unity, as the Dems always do. We’d rather fight with ourselves than with the ultra-secular, anti-traditional, pro-abort Dems.

I, as a true Reaganite, am here supporting the GOP nominee, whoever it turned out to be (my original 15th choice out of 17), just as Reagan supported Ford in 1976 and refused to be a crybaby sore loser. His day came in due course. Cruz, however, will never be President, because of his stunt at the convention.

*****

It remains the case that with Hillary, there is no chance whatever of pro-life gains; with Trump we have some sort of chance (lesser or greater depending on one’s views). That’s quite compelling enough for me: a pro-life activist these past 34 years and not wishing to see any further legal gains be made impossible.

We can be skeptical and cynical all day long. It’s always easy as pie to do so. Meanwhile, the babies are being slaughtered every day, and if there is any chance of allowing a relative few of them to live, we should take it, as compassionate pro-life human beings.

God is watching to see what we do. It’s already mostly Christians’ faults for ever allowing legal abortion to take hold in this country. Now if we sit and do nothing, when there are things we could do to lessen the holocaust, we will be all the more guilty under God.
*****

The best and (I think) most compelling argument I’ve seen is the three-part series from Hugh Hewitt (a lawyer, teacher of constitutional law, and Catholic) on the Supreme Court.

The way I see it is that this might be viewed as a variant of the famous “Pascal’s Wager.” Regarding abortion, if one votes for Hillary, they definitely get “hell.” If Trump’s legion of detractors is correct, one would also get “hell” by voting for Trump.

But at least there is a significant chance to get “heaven” (pro-life Justices and possible legislation). It’s rational to vote for the person where there is a decent chance to advance the pro-life cause, over against the one who certainly will not do so: all the more so to the extent that we consider it (as I do) far away the most important ethical issue of our time.

As I have noted several times, the last Democrat-appointed Justice to vote pro-life in Supreme Court cases was Byron White: appointed in 1962 by JFK. The GOP appointees have, sadly, a mixed record. But the only ones who have voted pro-life (sans White) have been from that category.

Nothing is certain except death and taxes. We always take a risk with any politician. But we must calculate the best possible or potential outcomes.

Here is the extended argument that Hewitt makes: filled with particulars and charity towards those who differ: [Part One / Part Two / Part Three].

*****

Possible dealbreakers [to cause me not to vote for Trump or any hypothetical candidate] would be a profound racism or anti-Semitism (of Hitlerian or KKK proportions), or absolute opposition to fundamental constitutional rights. The closest Trump comes is his advocacy of torture of suspected or known terrorists (beyond waterboarding: which I regard as abusive and oppose, but am not convinced is torture). This is an intrinsic evil, and he needs to be disabused of that wicked position pronto.

But I have been told (by a very anti-Trump guy) that the courts wouldn’t let him supersede the rules of the Geneva Convention or our own military ethical restrictions. He can’t implement such evil policies on his own.

But in the case of a certain pro-abort against a stated pro-lifer, even if we don’t know for sure about the authenticity of his 11th hour conversion, it’s very clear to me. I don’t have the slightest doubt, as to my choice: no hesitation whatever. I understand that others struggle with the choice, in good faith and in their conscience. I’m just saying that I do not, and these are my reasons why. He also chose a profoundly pro-life running mate.

Babies are dying every day. If we have any chance at all of limiting the killings in any way (parental consent or required ultrasounds or first 20 weeks, or whatever it might be), vs. no chance whatever, with the alternative, it seems to me that we must take it. A stacked ultra-left Court will assure that many thousands more babies will be killed than would have, if any restrictions were allowed. It’s not like other issues. We’re talking about literally many thousands of lives in the balance.

It’s not like Trump is the only candidate who held to intrinsic evils, either. Romney, McCain, both Bushes, and I believe, Dole and Reagan, all thought the “exception cases” of abortion were fine: i.e., rape and incest. The Church holds, of course, that such abortions are just as intrinsically evil as any others. But they held these positions, and conservatives and/or pro-lifers voted for them anyway. And they did, because the alternative was 100% pro-abortion, whereas they were 2-3% pro-abortion. That’s an easy choice, and the Church fully allows us to make it.

Trump has character issues? Absolutely; but join the crowd. The example I keep using is Ronald Reagan: he was responsible for 200,000 abortions occurring due to his having signed a bill in California in 1967. He is said (I just learned this recently) to have had sex with 50+ women in his Hollywood period, and was the only divorced President (if divorce is made an issue in Trump’s case). We need not bother mentioning JFK, LBJ, FDR and many other skirt-chasing Presidents in both parties.

As far as we know, he reformed his womanizing ways, and was happily married to Nancy, and he certainly changed on the pro-life issue. But if we want a sterling pro-abortion past, there it is in flying colors (he was elected as a pro-life candidate just 13 years after that). If we want womanizing and divorce (not sure if his first putative marriage qualifies as an annulment), we have it.

*****

We have as much reason to believe that Trump’s change of mind was genuine as we have to believe Ronald Reagan, 13 years after he signed a bill in California that resulted in 200,000 abortions. It’s prior emotional, gut-level contempt of Trump that simply assumes he is lying about being pro-life.

Good grief; in 1990 when I was vigorously fighting against papal infallibility and giving my Catholic friends misery, no one in their right mind would believe that I would be convinced of Catholicism before the year was out. But I was. People could then doubt my sincerity based on past behavior. Some anti-Catholics to this day think I’m not an orthodox Catholic, because I used to be an evangelical.

We need not take Trump’s every word as “gospel truth”; but he is owed the rudimentary charity that all are owed: not to be regarded as a liar, as if he believes nothing that he himself says. It’s beyond ironic and quite comical that Trump’s opponent has a long, documented history of lying (as does her husband): including verification recently by the FBI director. Yet Trump is viewed as uniquely a lying scumbag, whose every word must be doubted?

I was also pro-choice before 1982 (though very ignorantly so). I changed on a dime when I went to one pro-life conference, sponsored by my [evangelical Protestant] church. People change their minds. It’s not impossible in all conceivable universes that the evil, wicked Trump could do so, too.

Granted, that his character is not Reaganesque (I have never claimed that it is), yet if we look at abortion alone with regard to both men, Reagan signed that bill, and there would be, therefore, at least as much reason to doubt the sincerity of his change as there is in Trump‘s case. This is one of my famous arguments from analogy. No one seems to have doubted Reagan’s change on abortion, yet the anti-Trumpists to a person all say he is lying through his teeth. It simply doesn’t follow.

Many of the Grumpy Never-Trumpers say there is no evidence whatever that he is genuine. I’ve already pointed out two: his proposed list of Supreme Court Justices, and selection of Pence as VP. Will they simply thumb their noses at those things, too: all is a ploy to fool his base and the overwhelmingly pro-life GOP?

Nor is it even true that all GOP prospective candidates change to pro-life as soon as they run. Pataki ran this election cycle, and is still pro-choice, I believe. That’s why he was my last choice of the 17. Rudy Giuliani was a front-runner in past primaries, at least for a time, and he remained pro-choice, as far as I know. So even if Trump is lying, he didn’t necessarily have to “pretend” to be pro-life.

Romney was famous for waffling, including on abortion. I excoriated him often during the 2012 primaries for that very reason. But I voted for him. Romney had abortion “baggage”; so did Reagan; so did Elder Bush, who was very recently pro-choice before becoming VP (as a good New England liberal Republican). So Reagan had signed a bill legalizing abortion 13 years before 1980, and picked a VP who had an eleventh-hour conversion on abortion. Yet he was pro-life, and so did Elder Bush prove himself to be. They changed. By the same token, Trump could have likewise sincerely changed his mind.

*****

For me, abortion is always front and center. It’ll be that way till we end the abominable holocaust. There are many other very important “life” issues, too, of course. But abortion is out in front, just as slavery was, when that was going on.

All you folks who want to decry that as “single issue” will continue doing so, but the fact remains that the babies are being killed day in and day out (just like Jews were being killed day in and day out during 1933-1945), and we must continue to try to do something about it. A Hillary victory will wipe out virtually all pro-life gains, if all restrictions are struck down by the Court.

If I am to be regarded as a fanatic because I care about the life of thousands, millions of babies being slaughtered, or soon to be, so be it. I’ll wear that “title” proudly. What else is new? I’m despised for being a Catholic, a conservative, and a pro-lifer. And (in some circles) as a Catholic convert, and in other circles, for thinking the New Mass is no less “proper” than the Tridentine . . .

*****

Do Never-Trumpers deny also that Hillary-appointed Justices will have a terrible effect on the Court, particularly regarding pro-life concerns? Can we at least agree on that much? Is that up for dispute, too? If they feel in conscience that they absolutely can’t vote for Trump, then obviously they won’t. But couldn’t we at least agree about the dire consequences of a Hillary presidency?

Republicans in many states have passed all kinds of abortion restrictions. A radical court can easily overturn all that and rule all such restrictions unconstitutional based on good ol’ Roe . . . and this is a good outcome for the pro-life cause? What about a possible overturning of all abortion restrictions? Do Never-Trumpers deny that this may very well take place? If it does, it means that more babies die. There is no way to escape that conclusion. And if we are pro-life, we must fight against more babies dying.

Is that not important enough to oppose? The only practical way we can do that is vote Trump and hope that he will stick to his word about his appointments. We sure as hell have no hope for pro-life gains with Hillary in there.

Pro-lifers are expected to sit idly by and watch every restriction we have worked so hard for, be overturned? And we are supposed to do so because, supposedly, Trump is lying about being pro-life, and the GOP is anti-abortion, but not pro-life?

We’re told by some that babies are important, but so are wages, health issues, time off for new moms, the homeless, the disabled, torture, military expenditures, etc. (a distorted, disproportionate version of the “seamless garment” Catholic notion). Of course they are, and I believe Democrats have demonstrably made just about all of those things worse (I’ve written many times about it), and the GOP can improve them if only given the chance to implement so many good programs that the Dems have blocked and vetoed and refused to even vote on.

It remains true that babies dying is far more important in the scheme of things than wages and these other things, which are indeed important, but far less so than the right to life: the right for a human being to be allowed to live and not tortured and murdered before he or she can ever see the light of day. All restrictions on abortion will likely be overturned under Hillary. This means that more babies will die.

That’s our choice. Babies being slaughtered is the most important of those issues, and the Church says so, many times. The only way we can [in this election year] possibly stop a radical anti-life Supreme Court is to elect Trump and hope for the best.

A good friend of mine helped establish crisis pregnancy centers here in southeast Michigan in the early 80s. As compassionate pro-life activists, we have always helped women in problem pregnancies, at no cost to themselves. So we have no disagreement there.

I recently raised money online for a homeless person that we knew. We helped him in all kinds of ways. He is very troubled, and drove off with our car one night without telling us. This is not the first time we have directly helped homeless persons. So I am in no need of instruction on how to be compassionate with regard to the less fortunate. And I haven’t been a liberal since the early 80s. Democrats don’t have a monopoly on compassion, concern, and charity.

I have argued for at least ten years that abortion only goes away through a huge spiritual revival, not law (whereas many Never-Trumpers seem to be  only just now figuring that out). But it doesn’t follow that more babies will not die, when all abortion restrictions are overturned by a possible radical Supreme Court. We can all talk about how best to promote the right to life. That’s a completely valid and important discussion. But meanwhile, those babies affected by restrictions being gutted will die, and it seems that we can all agree that this must be opposed.

*****

And if Trump does lose, we may very well see any and all restrictions on abortion be gutted. All of those gains won by hard-working pro-lifers, doing all they could possibly do legally could be wiped out in one radical decision. If that happens, it won’t be my fault. I did all I could to do the only thing possible right now to defeat Hillary and prevent an ultra-left, anti-life Court: vote Trump.

We’re talking about far more than just the Hyde Amendment. That’s only the beginning. We’re talking about all restrictions passed by any and all states being in possible grave danger. They were made possible by the post-Roe abortion decisions that at least allowed a little bit of leeway for restrictions.

Another SCOTUS case could easily change that and wipe all the laws out: every statewide gain made by pro-lifers these past 27 years. This should be of enormous concern to any pro-lifer.

If it happens, it will have because Hillary was enabled to win by our stupidity and in-fighting. And I will sit there and say, “I did all I legally could to try to prevent this, and tried to warn others of this horrible outcome . . .”

*****

Meta Descriptions: Thoughts on whether Donald Trump is sincerely pro-life, & whether electing him would advance the pro-life cause.

Meta Keywords: Trump & pro-life, pro-lifers & elections, 2016 presidential campaign, American politics, American presidential election, Catholics & Trump, Catholics and presidential election, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Abortion, Childkilling, conception, Supreme Court, abortion restrictions, fetal development, infanticide, personhood, preborn child, prenatal, pro-abortion, pro-choice, pro-life, unborn child

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