The Puzzling Pro-Lifers Who Harm the Cause - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Puzzling Pro-Lifers Who Harm the Cause
President Donald Trump speaks at campaign rally in Pennsylvania, August 2018 (Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock)


Here’s the headline from USA Today’s Candy Woodall:

Anti-abortion group threatens to reject Trump in 2024 unless he supports national abortion ban

Woodall reports:

Former President Donald Trump, who is embroiled in a series of legal and political fights, is getting his latest challenge from a core Republican constituency: life anti-abortion activists.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an influential conservative group with more than 1 million members, threatened Trump — and any 2024 candidate — that they will lose the organization’s support unless they back a national ban on abortion.

“We will oppose any presidential candidate who refuses to embrace at a minimum a 15-week national standard to stop painful late-term abortions while allowing states to enact further protections,” SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement.

Her comments came after the Trump campaign told The Washington Post he believes the Supreme Court got it right when it said access to abortion should be decided at the state level.

One can only be astonished at this. Surely if there is one thing pro-lifers have learned over the years — and I am pro-life — it is this: There are millions of our fellow citizens who support the “pro-choice” movement. And they can and will succeed in blocking any national “pro-life” legislation that bans abortion. They have, alas, the political clout to do it.

That being the case, what is the best way to save the lives of the unborn? That would be, obviously, getting the individual states to do what Congress will not do.

And a serious sense of reality is in order. It is a political reality that states like New York and California will never sign up for pro-life legislation. But that is not the case in all 50 states.

Which is to say, the pro-life movement should dedicate itself first and foremost to rescuing the unborn in states where that can be a fact of law. Example: Florida. Here’s a sample headline, this one from Reuters:

Florida Governor Desantis signs 6-week abortion ban law

The story reports this:

Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill into law that bans most abortions after six weeks, setting the stage for abortion access to be drastically curtailed in the state and across the U.S. South.

DeSantis signed the legislation late on Thursday night after lawmakers in the state’s Republican-led House of Representatives approved it with a 70-40 vote. The bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 26-13 on April 3.

“We are proud to support life and family in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said in a statement.

The legislation makes exceptions for abortions in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s life or health are at serious risk.

The Associated Press reports:

Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy, while Georgia forbids the procedure after cardiac activity can be detected, which is around six weeks.

Meanwhile, over there in Reuters was this:

A Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Wednesday found that about 50% of Americans strongly or somewhat oppose a national six-week abortion ban, including 44% of Republicans. The same poll showed that 43% of Republicans said they were less likely to vote for a politician who supports limiting access to abortion.

That poll is another way of saying that support for a national ban simply isn’t there, with no prospect that it will ever be there. Which is to say, abortions are going to roll on undisturbed, with unknown millions of unborn babies facing the extinction of their blossoming lives.

God bless Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America for campaigning for a national ban. But to criticize Trump for his support of the state-by-state approach puts Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America in the bizarre position of effectively aiding and abetting the pro-choice movement. In the name of demanding a national ban, nothing will happen.

So, what to do seems obvious. Save the lives of the unborn in those states where pro-lifers have already won the argument and write pro-life legislation into law.

The exact way to not save the lives of any of the unborn is to spend time in a futile battle to pass a national abortion ban — a battle that will produce only one obvious answer: no national ban.

Which is to say that Trump and other Republican candidates who have stood up for the state-by-state approach are the ones truly championing the pro-life movement. And, in Trump’s case, it was his appointment of three conservative Supreme Court justices that has enabled the state-by-state approach to work in the first place through the repeal of the nightmare that was Roe v. Wade.

It is a puzzle indeed to see a seriously pro-life organization effectively, if unintentionally, aid the pro-choice movement by not challenging it in all 50 states, and doing so in the name of a national ban that is nowhere on the horizon.

An analogy? Think of the famous sinking of the Titanic. As history records, when the ship struck the iceberg and everyone realized that the ocean liner was sinking and lifeboats had to be manned, the cry went up for “women and children first.”

Did that mean that the men who were not able to get a seat in a lifeboat would drown — purely because they were not women or children? Sadly, yes, it did. In fact, the number of survivors has been placed between 701–713. But they were not among the 1,500 who were believed to have drowned.

In the case of the pro-life movement, the state-by-state approach is the women-and-children-first approach.

And Trump should be applauded, not condemned, for supporting it.


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Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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