Trump abortion position draws mixed reactions from pro-life leaders, GOP lawmakers

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News

 

Former President Donald Trump’s highly-anticipated announcement of his position on abortion drew both praise and censure from prominent faith and pro-life leaders.

The presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee said in a video message released on Monday that individual states should determine abortion laws, as opposed to the federal government. 

“The states will determine by vote or legislation — or perhaps both — and whatever they decide must be the law of the land,” Trump said in the four-minute message.

The statement dashed hopes among many pro-family leaders who expected the former president to back federal abortion restrictions. Trump previously signaled support for a 15-week national abortion ban.

The former president told NBC’s Kristen Welker in September 2023 that “people are starting to think of 15 weeks” as the gestational limit for a federal abortion ban. However, he stopped short of saying that he would sign such a proposal.

“We’re going to agree to a number of weeks or months or however you want to define it,” Trump said, boldly predicting that both Republicans and Democrats “will come together, and for the first time in 52 years” to resolve the issue once and for all.  

TRUMP ACCUSED OF FOLLOWING ‘POLITICAL HEADWINDS’ INSTEAD OF CONVICTIONS

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser expressed frustration with Trump’s most recent position on the subject.

“Saying the issue is ‘back to the states’ cedes the national debate to the Democrats who are working relentlessly to enact legislation mandating abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy,” Dannenfelser told The Washington Stand. She added that should Democrats succeed in this effort, “they will wipe out states’ rights” to regulate abortion.

“Unborn children and their mothers deserve national protections,” Dannenfelser continued, adding that she was “disappointed in President Trump’s position.”

Ed Stetzer, dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, offered far more scathing criticism of Trump’s abortion stance, as reported by Newsweek.

“Convictions about life are better than following the political winds, and it appears that President Trump’s convictions have given way to the political winds,” Stetzer said, adding that time will tell the former president’s middle-of-the-road position on abortion will dissuade evangelicals from voting for him in November.

MAN CONCEIVED IN RAPE CALLS TRUMP OUT OVER ‘EXCEPTIONS’ STATEMENT 

On the eve of the release of his video statement, Trump wrote in a Truth Social post, “We have an obligation to the salvation of our Nation, which is currently in serious decline, to win elections, without which we will have nothing other than failure, death, and destruction.” 

Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, took exception to the remark after viewing Trump’s video message.

“There’s no ‘salvation of our Nation’ while we are permitting killing children,” Rose wrote in a post on X. “This includes helpless children conceived in rape,” she continued, referring to Trump’s assertion that he strongly supports exceptions to state abortion laws in cases of rape and incest.

Radiance Foundation founder Ryan Bomberger, who was conceived in rape, tagged Trump in a tweet asking, “So, lives with origin stories like mine should die to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain? No thanks. Stop fearing what the Left is cheering.”

PERKINS URGES TRUMP TO ‘DEFUND’ ABORTION

Other pro-life leaders refrained from direct criticism of the former president, instead urging him to pass pro-life protections if he wins a second term.

“Former President Trump has played a vital role in bringing our nation to this pivotal point of being able to restore the fundamental right to life in America,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement provided to The Washington Stand. “I applaud President Trump for the work he has done, but that work is not over.”

Perkins said that policies protecting unborn lives “should be pursued at every level of government until every child, born and unborn, is welcomed into this nation and protected under our laws, federal and state.” He added that there is “broad support” for defunding abortion, suggesting that Trump’s support for doing so would go a long way, in terms of winning evangelical votes. 

“The federal government should not be funding the facilitation of abortion in any form or fashion — at home or abroad,” Perkins said. 

PENCE SLAMS TRUMP’S MESSAGE: ‘A SLAP IN THE FACE’

Trump’s video statement was largely met with silence from Republican lawmakers, who have increasingly shifted away from even discussing abortion.

There were some exceptions, however.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) wrote in a tweet that he “respectfully disagree[s] with President Trump’s statement that abortion is a states’ rights issue.” Graham, one of Trump’s most stalwart supporters in Congress, said that “[T]he pro-life movement has always been about the wellbeing of the unborn child – not geography.”

Graham wrote in a subsequent post that he would continue to push for a federal law banning abortions after 15 weeks, at which time an unborn baby “is capable of feeling pain.”

He also noted that 47 of 50 European countries have national limits on abortions between 12 and 15 weeks. “This is the civilized world’s position,” Graham wrote.

Former Vice President Mike Pence called Trump’s position a “slap in the face” to pro-life Americans who voted for him in the last two elections.

“However much our Republican nominee or other candidates seek to marginalize the cause of life, I know pro-life Americans will never relent until we see the sanctity of life restored to the center of American law in every state in this country,” Pence said.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters that Trump’s position on abortion reflects those of the majority of Republicans, as reported by Axios. He added, however, that this “could change over time.”

“Republicans do not support a federal ban on abortion. Period,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) told the outlet. “[T]hat’s a lie you’re hearing from the Democrats to scare voters.”

TRUMP: ‘RADICAL’ DEMS SUPPORT ABORTION ‘EVEN BEYOND THE NINTH MONTH’

Trump declared in the video that he “was proudly the person responsible” for rolling back federal abortion rights, referring to the appointment of three conservative Supreme Court justices under his administration, all of whom joined the 2022 majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson that repealed federal abortion rights. 

Nevertheless, 2023 monthly abortion rates were relatively unchanged from the numbers preceding the Dobbs decision. According to a report released in February by The Society of Family Planning, the monthly average of abortions performed from July through September was 81,000-88,000. The staggering number is only marginally lower than the monthly average of 86,000 from April to June of 2022 before Roe was overturned, as reported by FISM TV News.

The former president also reminded Americans “that the Democrats are the radical ones on this position because they support abortion up to and even beyond the ninth month,” a position, he said, that most people find “unacceptable.” 

Trump urged Americans to vote their hearts on the issue of abortion but reminded supporters that “you must also win elections to restore our culture” and “save our country.”

“We have to win. We are a failing nation, but we can be a failing nation no longer,” he said. “We will make our nation great. We will make our nation greater than ever before.” 

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