Why Hillary’s Stance On Abortion Doesn’t Make Me Want To Vote For Donald Trump

Why Hillary’s Stance On Abortion Doesn’t Make Me Want To Vote For Donald Trump October 27, 2016

It’s a loaded topic, to be sure. And I’m certain I’ll call down my own tribe of trolls for this post, but it’s been brewing for a very long time. I have an extra bottle of wine on hand and a posse of people ready to love on me when the haters come out. Because I’ve got to say this and say it loud:

 

The abortion issue is not a good reason to vote for Trump.

And I’m deeply dismayed by Christians who are willing to vote for him based on one issue, and one issue only.

This is a nuanced and complicated discussion, worthy of many more words than what a blog post — even my long ones — allows. And it’s complicated even without throwing Drumpf in the mix, but he adds a little sprinkle of special to the conversation — and it’s a dangerous sprinkle at that.

I’ve been loathe to discuss it publicly for many, many years because it’s such a trigger point for so many people, and I’ve struggled with my position as both a feminist and a Christian. I am personally against abortion and would probably never make that choice for myself. I say probably because I consider myself extremely lucky that I was never faced with a non-viable, life-threatening pregnancy in which my husband and I would have been forced to make a decision — keep me alive to help raise our other kids, or risk it all to give birth to a baby who might die anyway?

I’ve never been completely willing to believe that government should have a say in this highly personal conversation, even in my most conservative Christian days — the early days, when I listened to Focus On The Family every morning in my car on the way to work because I thought after all, WWJD? Well, of course he’d listen to James Dobson!

Even then, I thought that if I was going to encourage a woman to keep her pregnancy, then I damn well better be willing to walk that out with her. So for a time I volunteered with an agency that worked to do just that — walk out their pregnancies with women, and help them manage the consequences of that decision.

I left, however, after the first time I had to tell a teenager she was pregnant and failed utterly to do anything to comfort her. I was barely out of my teens myself, and completely ill-equipped. I’ll never forget her, and I don’t know to this day what she decided.

And it goes beyond just abortion. The precedent set by government making highly personal health care decisions for women scares the bejeebies out of me. It’s already impacted a woman’s choice on how she’d like to give birth; there are plenty of instances in which hospitals have forced women to have C-sections, even going so far as to have the courts give custodial rights of the unborn child to the hospital in order to force the mother into the operating room. In some cases, a woman who disagrees with her doctor and chooses to give birth naturally has resulted in the hospital reporting her to Family Services as an unfit parent. In other cases, doctors simply bully women when they are at their most vulnerable.

Let’s be clear: if the government were up in men’s junk this much, it would never be an issue. It would be shut down faster than you can say “Donald Trump thinks with his penis.

If we really want to lower abortion rates, we need to create social justice policies that make it easier for women to keep their pregnancies. Important issues like a livable minimum wage, to paid family leave, to welfare policies and the pay gap, to access to education, and streamlining adoption proceedings — all of these issues and others could do more to lower the abortion rate than a simple ban.

In my mind, if you want to simply ban abortion, you don’t care about women. And if you don’t care about women, you don’t care about their children. Because the unfortunate truth is that abortion will never go away.  It will simply push it underground and make it a black market commodity, and that is very, very bad for women.

As Jen Hatmaker eloquently said in this interview, to be truly pro-life, you need to be pro-refugee, pro-Muslim, pro-living wage, etc. Not only is a ban on abortion not pro-woman, it’s also incredibly lazy — it’s an excuse to not do the harder work of creating a just and hospitable country for all people.

You know, sort of what the point of America was supposed to be in the first place.

Which brings me to that special sprinkle: Donald Trump. There are a myriad of reasons not to vote for him, and his alleged stance on abortion doesn’t mitigate any of them.

First of all, I don’t believe him for a second. His stance on abortion has been flip-floppy at best, and he’s obviously a demagogue who will say whatever he thinks his people want to hear. Who knows where he’ll end up if he makes it to the White House — but there’s no way that I think he’s truly got an agenda that actually cares about women. In fact, I don’t think he actually cares about abortion at all, except for how the topic might help him get elected. (His absolute ignorance on what a late-term abortion actually is makes this pretty clear.)

But the fact that Christians have to very consciously, with great intent, look past a whole host of other issues with him as a candidate is repulsive to me. Holding so fast to their beliefs about abortion (which I get, as a Christian) they are willing to overlook the fact that he is an admitted sexual predator, that he is openly racist (Bad Hombres, anyone?), misogynistic (Nasty Women), and xenophobic (here’s an interesting article on that phenomenon). He has admitted to not paying taxes and won’t release his tax returns, and he also hasn’t agreed that he will maintain a long-standing American tradition: the peaceful transfer of power.

So in essence, he’s kind of destroying everything that actually does make America great. He is pretty much the antithesis of anything great in America.

Oh, the irony.

But when it comes to Christians who support Trump solely on the abortion issue — I just don’t get it. I don’t get how you can hold fast to one tiny little part of an issue and not address the whole body of important stuff and still say Trump is good for women, for God, or for our country.

 


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  • David Binkele

    You are one of the few Christian voices that I respect. This was a particularly poignant piece that really struck home with me. Thank You

  • John

    I get your position. It been out there a long time and has many merits – living wage, pro-refugee, etc. All good stuff. Not sure you can totally tie all the issues together as intrinsically one, but that is another debate. In all this, what is missing is an argument on behalf of the unborn, truly a very vulnerable thing (baby, fetus…?) without a voice. How would you make an argument on behalf of the other side of this equation? Do you even believe there is a case to be made here in all fairness?

    • Iain Lovejoy

      I think the point is that a Trump presidency would not in fact and in practice magically stop abortion happening, even if he genuinely gave a stuff about the issue, for which there is little evidence he does. It therefore makes next to no sense to vote for him because of this one particular piece of posturing by him given everything else about him is pretty well vile.

      • Yes, Iaian, that is exactly the point. Voting Trump in on this one issue is, in my opinion, greatly misguided.

      • John

        I agree that a Trump presidency will not change this issue and that evangelicals should take a hard look at SCOTUS and see that even under conservative rule, they did nothing for the Republican position on this issue. Placing hope in the Supreme Court on this one is bowing to a false god.

    • Hi John. Thanks for your comment. As a person who has had the amazing experience of having 2 of those most vulnerable unborn babies inside her for 40 weeks each, yes. I do believe there is a case to be made for the unborn. I just don’t think it comes in the form of picket lines or a ban, but rather developing a society that makes it easier for moms to have their babies, and then making sure those babies thrive (whether with biological or adoptive parents). So in a way (and I fully admit that it doesn’t seem to be right from the start) my whole stance is an argument for the unborn: give them a shot at the best life possible by making the world a more hospitable place to be a mother.

      I hope that makes sense.

      • John

        Agreed, picket lines and an outright ban may not be the best way, but if you’re waiting for the world to be a better place then you will be waiting a long, long time. And I don’t think that waiting for a societal shift is necessary. We work with what we have, but we don’t compromise because the ideal isn’t our reality. By that logic, we would have one excuse after another not to do something.
        I appreciate that you recognize that there are two parties involved in this issue and that abortion brings them into conflict. No one wins this one and I wish both side could recognize that. Still, we are probably on the same page that until God restores this world to his intentions and our collective hearts are transformed, this issue will remain polarizing.

        • Agreed. There really are no easy answers here.

        • Linda McQ

          Could compromise by having both parties focus on supporting those lives financially, and not cutting back on programs that do, or refusing to implement programs that would help.

    • Linda McQ

      Stop defining cells as baby would be a starting point. That’s new. So you get folks anti birth control.

      • John

        Probably not. The 4 clumps of cells at my house think otherwise and are thankful for it.

    • Donal

      To be pro-life is to care about all life and support one another through all its challenges, remembering this requires mutual respect and sharing our thoughts rather than forcing them on others. We can respectfully try to persuade, which is different than seeking ways to impose our views. Christ gives his followers the freedom to choose whether or not to embrace his teachings and we should do the same on matters of faith. But it pleases God to see all of creation to come together around His norms for our lives together.

  • Frank

    The only hope we have is Third party.

  • John Gills

    I also think that vigorous prosecution of statutory rapists would powerfully reduce the number of abortions.

  • Linda McQ

    Good article. Sex education, teaching of boundaries and ensuring everyone understands consent (severe penalty for incest, rape), and effective affordable birth control would help too. I don’t understand why all parties don’t include in their platforms a living wage, ensure health care available and affordable to all, maternity leave, and parental leave to care for sick kids, and access to a education. Support of a child for those who can’t, is more than support for the birth.

  • Mellow_Guy

    If you can’t forgive a woman for having an abortion, where will your views
    lead you?

  • Donal

    Kerry, I am surprised at how much we think alike and want to convey support for your insights and the important point about need to limit the role of government in decisions about abortion. As a Christian who is also a political scientist, the role of government and its authority as addressed in the Bible has been a focus of much of my thinking and years of teaching. There is much inconsistency on what is described as “pro-life” and the intervention OR lack of any attention by government (political authority which has existed since creation in a variety of forms). Too often Christians compartmentalize politics and the role of political authority from their faith and its values which leads to single issue politics especially on selective “moral” policies such as abortion, gay marriage (why is political authority involved in determining who should be allowed to make a personal commitment to another person?), consensual sex between adults, medicinal use of marijuana, or similar personal issues that do not affect the safety and well-being of the public.

    Thank you for your work and I look forward to reading more and being able to discuss these important concerns with one who thinks and articulates a distinct viewpoint. Donal King, frequent post on FB