A Catholic Bishop from Kentucky recently said it’s laughable to think Donald Trump is pro-life in any way. He says Trump only cares about himself. This is a run-of-the-mill left-wing talking point. Consider also that Bishop John Stowe was one of those shameful people who attacked the Covington student for standing his ground in the face of a leftist assault at the March for Life two years ago.
The question is not what Trump cares about. His motives do not matter to us. Rather, the question is, what has he done? Trump has been more pro-life than any previous president. He has been pro-life in ways someone like George W. Bush never thought about. Trump has been pro-life in a granular way that casual partisans, like Bishop Stowe and other Catholic leftists, would never take the time to know.
The first thing to understand is that previous pro-life presidents didn't have to be all that pro-life to get the praise of pro-life leaders. They had to promise to nominate “strict constructionists” who may or may not undo the abomination of Roe v. Wade. They never have. And they had to defund an obscure UN agency called the UN Population Fund. They also had to reinstitute something called the Mexico City Policy, which keeps American money from promoting abortion overseas. That was pretty much it. A president who did these things was “pro-life.”
And along comes Donald Trump who had no record on the life issues. Truth be told, he has no record on the “pro-choice” side either, just a lot of confused statements. I was convinced at the time that he did not care a bit about the issue one way or the other, that he never ever thought about it. But this would work to our advantage. No matter what they said, previous GOP presidents really did care about elite opinion as expressed in The Washington Post and The New York Times, therefore they would never get too crazy on the life issues. This is why George Bush, for instance, never pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, like Donald Trump did.
It was clear from the beginning that Trump saw elites as the enemy, and he would not care what they thought. But he did care about pro-life support. My thought then was that he would do what we want and that has been the case.
Here is the granular aspect of his pro-life work.
He not only reinstituted the Mexico City Policy, he expanded from only the relatively small overseas family planning budget to the entire overseas health budget of the United States. This was an exponential change.
Trump also defunded the human rights court of the Organization of American States because they have violated U.S. law that says our money cannot be used to lobby for abortion, something they had done with impunity. No other president had thought to do that.
During the George Bush administration, his UN negotiators regularly accepted the phrase “reproductive health” in UN documents. It never would have occurred to George Bush to fight against this phrase that is synonymous with abortion. In fact, George Bush allowed this phrase to enter into a hard law treaty for the first time in history. What did Trump do? He directed his negotiators to draw a bright line around the phrase “reproductive health” and they fight it at the UN every time it appears. This happened because of genuine pro-lifers the president appointed to the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Only those of us who work on this issue at the UN know about this granular achievement.
The Kentucky Bishop clearly does not know the number of movement pro-lifers that the president has appointed to top spots all over his administration. And this has resulted in great but largely unknown pro-life achievements. For the first time in history, there is a genuinely active office for conscience protection in the Department of Health and Human Services, where doctors and nurses and even medical students can go to complain that they are being forced to learn about or participate in abortions.
For a good, long while, the head of the president’s Domestic Policy Council was a movement pro-lifer and Catholic—Andrew Bremberg. Bremberg was a graduate of the mission-oriented Ave Maria College and has a law degree from the Catholic University of America. Bremberg and his healthcare deputy, another movement pro-lifer named Katy Talento, used to stay up late at night to advise US negotiators during G7 meetings to ensure that abortion was not promoted.
Let that sink in. So pro-life has been this administration that they have even pushed the issue at G7 negotiations. This is unheard of.
When Bremberg was nominated by Trump to be US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, he was quizzed about his pro-life views by vicious pro-abortion Senator Menendez of New Jersey. Bremberg had helped block a Security Council resolution that would have put abortion on the Security Council agenda for the very first time. Bremberg’s answer was shocking. He said, “Abortion is never the answer to any moral question.” I have never heard someone so forthright before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Catholic left will push the notion that Donald Trump violates church teaching in areas like immigration and the environment. And this is utterly false. With regard to immigration, we welcome more strangers into our country than any other and it is not even close. With regard to the environment, the United States has one of the cleanest environments among industrialized nations. And there is nothing in Catholic teaching that tells us we must believe in the left-wing doctrine of global warming and so-called climate change. Look at poverty; poverty was rising under Obama and it began to drop under Trump. What’s more, until the COVID panic ruined our economy, we had the lowest unemployment in our history, the lowest for blacks, women, and Hispanics.
The Catholic left will try to convince Catholics that Trump is far from Catholic teaching on a whole host of issues. In fact, he is far closer than the unfaithful Catholic running on the Democratic side. Catholics and other Christians of all kinds may vote in good conscience for President Trump and not only for his achievements on the life issue, but on all others.
Austin Ruse is the author ofThe Catholic Case for Trump, just out from Regnery Publishing.