Trump Turns Against Pro-Lifers

Trump Turns Against Pro-Lifers September 26, 2023

Donald Trump won pro-lifers’ support by promising to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.   And he delivered.  But now he seems to be turning against pro-lifers and their cause.

An article in Politico entitled Trump Steamrolls Anti-Abortion Groups gives a summary:

In just the last week, Donald Trump called Florida’s six-week abortion ban “terrible,” refused to endorse national restrictions, blamed abortion opponents for Republicans’ 2022 election disappointments and pledged to compromise with Democrats on the issue if elected.

The article by Alice Miranda Ollstein and Sally Goldenberg quotes some reactions from pro-life activists:

“Are pro-lifers going to allow themselves to be a cheap date?” said Patrick Brown, a fellow with the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Life and Family Initiative. “Are they going to sit back and take it when candidates are denigrating the cause they dedicated their life to?”

“He won’t feel pressure until it’s applied, and we’re willing to apply it,” said Kristi Hamrick, the chief policy strategist with Students for Life of America. “You cannot ignore the human rights issue of our time and still get our vote.”

“Looking at a general, he’s going to need all Republicans to come home if he’s going to beat Joe Biden,” Billy Valentine, SBA’s vice president of political affairs, said. “He’s going to need the base in order to win ultimately.

When asked by a journalist if he would sign a nation-wide ban on abortion after 15 weeks, Trump ducked the question and said that he “would sit down with both sides and I’d negotiate something, and we’ll end up with peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years.”  As Rich Lowry observed, he thus presented himself as a neutral arbiter, rather than as an opponent of abortion.

He said of Ron DeSantis’s 6-week ban that he passed in Florida, “I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”  In doing so, he was also attacking the other red states that have passed similar limits.

These statements produced backlash from people who had been his ardent supporters.  Federalist editor John Daniel Davidson came back with a forceful article entitled  Trump Is Delusional If He Thinks He Can Broker “Peace” in the Abortion Debate.  Another Federalist writer, Nathanael Blake, put it bluntly in his article bluntly titled:  Pro-Lifers Shouldn’t Trust Trump.

Chris Queen at the usually pro-Trump PJ Media wrote a powerful piece entitled  We Can’t Compromise with the Democrats on Abortion, in which he concludes,

We cannot compromise or cave on abortion. There’s no calculus for a number of babies that are worth sacrificing to “make everybody happy” or for everybody to like Donald Trump. And for all the talk of electing Trump to save the republic, what’s the point if he is going to behave more like a Democrat on such a key issue?

I have to agree with my friend and colleague Stephen Kruiser when he said in our internal Slack chat, “If I have to be on board with killing babies to save the Republic then the Republic deserves to die.”

And yet, conservative columnist Rich Lowry says that none of this will matter.  In his article Trump Will Get Away with Snubbing Conservatives on Abortion, he writes,

So far the reaction to Trump’s remarks has been muted on most of the social right, which is a sign that we may have passed an event horizon. In 2016, Trump had to hew to social-conservative orthodoxy to win the Republican nomination. Now, he may well define the orthodoxy. . . .

Trump can rely on his supporters to deploy contradictory justifications for whatever he says or does.

If he says things that go way too far and potentially turns off voters, it’s because he’s a fearless truth-teller — whereas anyone who objects on grounds that Trump should be more politically careful is a RINO sell-out who needs to learn from Trump’s bold example.

If Trump says something that throws an important conservative cause under the bus or communicates a willingness to compromise, it’s because he’s ruthlessly practical and focused on electoral success — whereas anyone who objects on grounds that Trump should be more courageous and principled is a heedless zealot who doesn’t care about winning.

The common thread is that Trump is right no matter what he says or how he comes down on an issue. . . .

One way or the other, he’s likely to get away with his heresy because so many of his supporters believe, almost by definition, that he’s not capable of it.

What do you think?

Those of you who supported Trump for the good of the pro-life cause, are you still with him?

Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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