Why does Donald Trump assert that he is pro-life?
It’s easy to understand that if he is running as a conservative for the GOP nomination this checked-box would be necessary to survive the primary process. He is running against two other candidates who have clear credentials on the matter, and if he were to be found to still be pro-abortion it would doom his chances of securing the nomination.
It might also be because he is ashamed of the pro-abortion views he has held for most of his sixty-nine years on the planet.
It might be that he is filled with wonder at the birth of his beautiful and precious new grandchild.
But if he wants any of the rest of us to believe this assertion, he’d better do a lot more to convince us.
Because he gives zero indication that this assertion is anything more than lip service.
This past week alone he said more things under direct questioning that gives everyone associated with the pro-life worldview abject reason to reject his claims, than anything he has said on the campaign trail to date that affirms them.
Yet even earlier in the campaign his assertion was under constant dissonance with things he would say.
Early in the campaign he claimed he would “completely defund” Planned Parenthood, and asserted that the baby body parts scandal proved what a horrible organization they were. In less than a week his position adjusted to reasoning that Planned Parenthood was a necessary organization doing “lots of good” for women. His position shifted to defunding only the funds that go "to abortion.” His current position would leave in place the funding as is because Planned Parenthood makes the assertion that none of its current funding goes to providing abortions.
To be clear the half billion plus forty-two million additional dollars that we gave Planned Parenthood last year kept the lights on for every abortion procedure in the Planned Parenthood clinics. It paid the rent. It gave the suction machines electricity. It paid the salaries. To be clear Planned Parenthood should have all federal funding ended. And anyone who can’t take the ten seconds to read this paragraph to understand why, is not pro-life.
This past week Donald Trump also took a position that has stood contrary to the pro-life effort since it began. He asserted in response to a direct question and a direct follow up question from MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that women who obtain abortions (if the procedure would become illegal) should in fact be punished.
In better than 90% of cases in America when a woman has an abortion performed, she has only in extremely seldom cases done it as a choice that she alone made. In more than 90% of cases there are other people—usually a man in her life—that push the woman into the decision. (So much for it being such a “choice” huh?)
The fact that he does not understand this plain reality... The fact that he does not seem to comprehend or in essence care about the women involved—and the likely punishment they endure in the process and for many years to come as a result of their own action… The fact that it didn’t cross his mind while saying it that it was not a wise response… Demonstrated that he is not pro-life.
In the next three days Trump claimed that his was the position of Ronald Reagan, his son attempted to argue for the justification of his “punishment” response on twitter, and finally they issued a written statement completely repudiating his original assertion and blaming the abortionist exclusively. Three positions in three days demonstrate that he is not pro-life.
On Sunday’s Face The Nation CBS News’ John Dickerson asks Trump to again clarify his series of odd and conflicting answers on what should be the easiest answer in a conservative’s wheelhouse of beliefs. Dickerson pressed Trump on whether abortion is murder. Again this is an easy answer to anyone who knows the issues involved. But Trump, lacking the moral insight to answer clearly, simply and finally (after a bit of uncomfortable squirming) lands on simply "disagreeing with it.”
At another moment Trump also says something rather unimaginable in today’s pro-life efforts: “At this moment, the laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way.”
Leave it that way?
Well if we followed that advice, parental consent laws would never have been passed, partial birth abortions would never have been banned, nearly anyone who ever flunked medical school could open a clinic and charge $2k-$5k per procedure.
If we take the approach that the laws are set and we have to leave it that way, then it in essence means nothing to anyone to be pro-life.
And that is obviously what it means—or doesn’t—to Donald J. Trump.