Would Donald Trump Be a Pro-Abortion President?

Jan 17, 2016 |

By John McCormack


[ Emphasis and {commentary} in red type by Abyssum }

When Ben Carson was rising in the polls, Donald Trump was quick to attack the former neurosurgeon for being “pro-abortion not so long ago.”

The attack was more than a bit hypocritical because Trump himself was “very” pro-abortion not so long ago. In 1999, Tim Russert asked Trump if he would support a ban on “abortion in the third-trimester” or “partial-birth abortion.”

“No,” Trump replied. “I am pro-choice in every respect.” Trump explained his views may be the result of his “New York background.” Now that Ted Cruz has attacked Trump’s “New York values,” Trump’s views on abortion will be getting a second look by many Republican voters.

During the first Republican presidential debate, Trump explained that he “evolved” on the issue at some unknown point in the last 16 years. “Friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances,” Trump said. “I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.”

When the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein asked Trump if he would have become pro-life if that child had been a loser instead of a “total superstar,” Trump replied: “Probably not, but I’ve never thought of it. I would say no, but in this case it was an easy one because he’s such an outstanding person.”

That Trump could go from supporting third-trimester abortion–something indistinguishable from infanticide, something that only 14 percent of Americans think should be legal–to becoming pro-life because of that one experience is a bit hard to believe. If it’s true, the story still indicates at the very least that Trump is not capable of serious moral reasoning.

The more important question is not what Trump said in the past but what he would do in the future. Trump says he’s pro-life except in the cases when a pregnancy endangers the life of the mother or is the result of rape or incest, although it remains unclear if he thinks abortion should be generally legal in the first three months of pregnancy (a position that is more accurately described as “pro-choice”).

Trump has said he’d sign a ban on abortion during the last four months of pregnancy, when infants can feel pain and are capable of surviving long-term outside the womb. But after undercover videos were released showing Planned Parenthood involved in the trafficking of aborted baby body parts, Trump said he wasn’t sure if the Planned Parenthood should lose all of its federal funding. He later shifted, saying: “I wouldn’t do any funding as long as they are performing abortions.”

Even if the mercurial Trump followed through on his promises to sign pro-life legislation, it wouldn’t matter if he appointed liberal justices to the Supreme Court. The Court is just one appointment away from a solid liberal majority that would likely find a right to taxpayer-funded and late-term abortion.

By the end of the next president’s first term, four sitting justices will be over the age of 80. Originalist Antonin Scalia and “swing-vote” Anthony Kennedy will both be 84. Liberal activists Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer will be, respectively, 87 and 82. There’s really no telling how far a lockstep-liberal majority would go on other issues like guns, immigration, national security, and the death penalty. If Trump appoints a liberal activist–intentionally or not–the rest of his domestic agenda doesn’t matter much.

The more likely result of a Trump nomination, of course, would be a Clinton presidency and the certain appointment of liberal justices. But in the event that Trump actually wins, what kind of Supreme Court justices would he appoint? When a voter asked Trump in December if he’d defund Planned Parenthood and try to repeal Roe v. Wade, Trump wouldn’t answer the question. “The answer is yes, defund,” he replied. “The other, you’re gonna need a lot of Supreme Court justices, but we’re gonna be looking at that very, very carefully, but you need a lot of Supreme Court judges. But defund yes, we’re going to be doing a lot of that.”

In 2015, Trump said he thought his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, a federal appeals court judge who struck down New Jersey’s partial-birth abortion ban, would be a “phenomenal” Supreme Court justice. “We will have to rule that out now, at least,” he added.

The bigger problem is that Trump’s general hostility toward limited government conservatism indicates that he would not want to appoint a constitutionalist to the Supreme Court. Trump still supports allowing the government to seize private property for commercial use, and a Supreme Court justice who shares this view will almost certainly be a liberal activist on issues across the board. Even if Trump wanted to appoint a constitutionalist, there’s no reason to think he’d know how to pick one in the first place.

On Saturday, Trump floated former senator Scott Brown, who supports a right to abortion, as a possible vice presidential running mate. “I tend to agree with @AnnCoulter on priorities here. If Trump immigration plan implemented, doesn’t matter,” tweeted Breitbart.com Washington editor Matthew Boyle. “I don’t care if @realDonaldTrump wants to perform abortions in White House after this immigration policy paper,” Coulter wrote in August.

Anti-immigration obsessives may not care about Trump’s views on infanticide and judges. But a strong majority of primary voters in a conservative, pro-life party surely will.


About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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