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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Pro-life accommodation of Trump would be a grave mistake


In December, we wrote:
Trump as the GOP nominee, or (FSM forbid) the President, would be a disaster for the pro-life cause...
If it comes down to it, I will refuse to hold my nose and vote for Trump. I have many personal reasons for this, but keeping my focus on abortion, here are three. It's not clear he's even on our side.
His positions on life issues are incoherent...
His off-the-cuff blustering and insults will bite the pro-life movement in the ass...
And finally, the biggest reason of all...
If Trump does oppose abortion, it's for all the wrong reasons. Trump has amply demonstrated that he does not have much love for humanity. His deplorable treatment of women, Mexican immigrants, Muslims, and anyone who disagrees with him goes way beyond the realm of normal rough-and-tumble politics and into the realm of dehumanization...
Trump's opposition to abortion clearly is not rooted in respect for the immeasurable value of human beings. Respect is not part of Trump's moral vocabulary. What it is rooted in, only he knows in his heart. My money is on simple pandering.
We stand by our previous comments 100%.

Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee. That is not a merely a disappointment to accommodate. It is a tragedy to mourn.

Unfortunately, some pro-life organizations appear to be leaning toward accommodation, despite the plethora of red flags well summarized by Talking Points Memo:
Their approval comes after Trump repeatedly roiled anti-abortion activists by wobbling on some of their stances or even blowing up their talking points. He caught flack last year for speaking positively of Planned Parenthood, as anti-abortion lawmakers flirted with shutting down the government over its federal funding. They jumped on Trump again this spring for the opposite reason, saying something too extreme: that women should be punishing for seeking abortions if the procedure is outlawed. 
Jeanne Mancini, the president of March for Life Education and Defense Fund, called the remark "completely out of touch with the pro-life movement" and Trump eventually walked it back. But he antagonized them yet again last month, when he said he would change the GOP's anti-abortion platform to permit exceptions in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother -- an idea that March for Life Action's Tom McClusky said "set back years of hard work in the pro-life movement.”

However, now that Trump is the presumptive nominee it appears anti-abortion groups are falling in line behind him. Priests for Life and Susan B. Anthony List both told the Washington Times they would support him in the general election.
The TPM article specifically notes that pro-life groups active in the political realm are happy with Trump's decision to hire John Mashburn as an adviser. The SBA List, among others, applauds Mashburn's pro-life credentials. I've never met the man; I extend the benefit of the doubt and assume he's the genuine article. And I believe in the good faith of the SBA List, too. I don't mean to suggest that each and every Trump supporter must turn in their pro-life cards. We should try to transcend our political differences whenever possible.

Unfortunately, a single adviser, no matter how fantastic a defender of human life he or she may be, cannot possibly outweigh the damage that Trump has already caused—let alone the damage he would cause if actually elected to the highest office in the land.

I humbly suggest that there are worse things than having a pro-abortion president. We currently have one, you'll recall, and despite that fact we have managed to bring the abortion rate to its lowest level since Roe v. Wade. Abortion businesses are shutting down left and right, even in blue states. As Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America wisely put it: "While many of us use our voting power to elect those who share our values and we hope will help us save as many innocent lives as possible, our answer, our win, doesn’t come from politics. It has and always will be culture. As our culture changes, so does our politics and the positions of those who run for office."

A President Trump who calls himself "pro-life" and grossly dehumanizes nearly everyone he encounters, while prominent abortion opponents stay silent or even openly support him, is a cultural wound that could take another 46 years to heal.

Is that a price we're willing to pay to replace Scalia with another pro-life Justice? Should pro-lifers vote third party? Should we write in protest candidates? Should we leave the presidential ballot blank and just vote in the Senate and House elections? Secular Pro-Life doesn't have the answers. We welcome a discussion of those questions, knowing that they torment the consciences of pro-life people across the nation.

One thing is for sure: the way we respond to this challenge will have years-long, life-or-death consequences.

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