It should be no surprise ‘the most pro-life’ Trump is waffling on abortion
Former President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Oct. 9, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Scott Olson | Getty Images
It’s not that former President Donald Trump says one thing and does another. It’s that he says and does whatever he wants, but very purposefully. Both must provide him with some sort of personal, business or political advantage.
As anti-abortion stalwarts are now learning, Trump won’t say anything if that benefits him the most.
One of the groups that pushed the hardest for the demise of Roe v. Wade isn’t pleased that the 45th president hasn’t made his views clear on the possibility of a federal law to ban abortion across the nation. They’re even less happy after seeing what a Trump 2024 campaign spokesperson told the Washington Post when asked about the issue.
“President Donald J. Trump believes that the Supreme Court, led by the three Justices which he supported, got it right when they ruled this is an issue that should be decided at the State level,” Steven Cheung told the Post.
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Trump, who has referred to himself as “the most pro-life president in American history,” avoided saying whether he’d back a federal abortion ban during his campaign stops. In the first post-Roe presidential election, anti-abortion proponents say they’ll only back a candidate who’s in favor of nationwide restrictions.
The Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America organization called Trump’s current stance a “morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate,” according to the news release it issued Thursday.
Marjorie Dannenfelse, the group’s leader, said the Trump campaign’s statement is a “completely inaccurate reading” of the Dobbs ruling that reversed Roe v. Wade.
“The Supreme Court made clear in its decision that it was returning the issue to the people to decide through their elected representatives in the states and in Congress,” Dannenfelse said in the statement. “Holding to the position that it is exclusively up to the states is an abdication of responsibility by anyone elected to federal office. This holds especially true for the president, more than any other federal official, because he or she has a responsibility to forge national consensus and progress on the most egregious human rights violation of our time.”
Other contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential bid have also been non-committal on a potential national abortion ban.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t stated his position, but he’s adamantly behind a new law in his state to deny abortions after six weeks of pregnancy – typically before someone knows they’re pregnant. Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s former governor, has said abortion laws should be left up to states but won’t rule out a national ban.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina would be OK with a federal law enforced after 20 weeks, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he needs to see any proposal first before taking a stance.
Like Trump, they probably recognize that the Dobbs case has turned abortion rights into a forefront issue in the 2024 election. For decades, a candidate’s take on Roe v. Wade was an afterthought because it was inconceivable the ruling would not be the law of the land.
Post-Roe, however, there’s a growing realization within the political realm — even among conservatives — that abortion rights should be sacrosanct. And now that the unthinkable has happened, unhappy voters are more engaged than ever.
So what does that mean for Trump? Not much, likely. His core supporters have proven they don’t care what he says or does — nothing is more sacrosanct than the false idol himself.
As for the anti-abortion crowd, they might struggle to find someone willing to worship at their altar now that Roe v. Wade is an increasingly distant memory.
This column was first published by the Louisiana Illuminator, a sister publication of the Arizona Mirror and a member of the States Newsroom network of local newsrooms.
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Greg LaRose/Louisiana Illuminator