By Coming Clean, Donald Trump Could Change America’s Heart on Abortion

By John Zmirak Published on April 4, 2016

Last week I urged reporters to ask Donald Trump, who has boasted of his many sexual conquests and pumped up baseless adultery rumors about a GOP rival, whether he’d ever told a woman to abort the child whom they had conceived. This question seemed fitting, given Trump’s statement (quickly retracted) that a law protecting unborn children ought to punish mothers as well as illegal abortionists. Any good reporter would ask a lawmaker who favors Prohibition whether he keeps whiskey in his cabinet.

I didn’t have much hope that anyone really would ask this of Trump. Reporters are clearly frightened of him, and as Megyn Kelly or Michelle Fields could tell you, not without reason. But Maureen Dowd of the The New York Times surprised me by posing Trump that precise question. He dodged it, and changed the subject.

Now, the politic answer for a candidate who claims to be a pro-life convert would seem to be, “No, I haven’t.” But that would have opened the door for any woman out there who could contradict his story — truthfully or not. Given the fact that most contraceptives have a robust failure rate — most women who get abortions insist that they were using one — if Trump was telling the truth about how many affairs he has carried on, then he almost certainly did get at least one woman pregnant. Probably more than one.

Now it’s possible that when Trump heard such news, he responded with due concern, and made financial arrangements to support his out-of-wedlock child. If so, then there are women out there raising little Trumps, keeping silent because of non-disclosure agreements. And if that is the case, then there is no political issue here. We are not electing a pastor-in-chief, and some of the rulers who did the most to protect Christians in past centuries had long lists of such children. And Christians in America fearful for our religious liberty are absolutely right to look for protection. We may not need a President Wilberforce, but we sure could use a Samson, or even a Constantine.

More likely, of course, is that Mr. Trump had indeed been confronted with an unintended pregnancy, and responded as we might expect someone who for decades called himself “very, very pro-choice,” who has said that men need to treat women “like s***,” who has traded in aging wives for younger models. (For those with strong stomachs for vulgar language, Trump’s comments about women are well-documented.) In other words, Trump probably told his former sex partners to get abortions, and paid for them — sparing himself 18 years of pricey child support.

In doing so, Trump wouldn’t have set himself apart from millions of American men since 1973. Since Roe v. Wade, there have been more than 58.5 million abortions  in America. While the rate of abortions is mercifully declining, Operation Rescue reports that by age 45, one American woman in three will have had at least one abortion. While there are tragic cases where the father opposes the abortion, and watches helplessly as his unborn child is destroyed against his will, there are not 58.5 million such cases. Indeed, counselors at pro-life pregnancy centers routinely report that the reason many women feel driven to have abortions is the lack of paternal support — both financial and emotional. Millions of men out there will someday have to answer to God for walking away from their responsibilities, for abandoning their own kids.

But what if Trump had been involved in aborting one or more of his children and what if he had answered Maureen Dowd very differently? What if he were to step forward now and come clean? I have known men and women alike who admit that they once succumbed to the lethal logic of our easy abortion culture. And now they’re repentant. They look back at the children whom they lost, and they mourn. They ask God for forgiveness, maybe even ask the child. At a beautiful NYC church I used to attend, the Church of the Holy Innocents, there’s a poignant shrine in the back that centers on a “Book of Life,” where mothers (and sometimes fathers) remember the children they lost to abortion or miscarriage. These little innocents gain back some basic human dignity: they may not rest in a grave, but at least they have a name. And their parents can start to heal.

What if Donald Trump confounded all of us who suspect he is a heartless, contemptuous cad — by contacting one of those women from his past, and appearing together on television? They could tell their abortion story, admit their grave mistake, and urge other men and women out there not to make that mistake themselves. If we saw that Mr. Trump in fact deeply regretted his role in such a decision, we might really begin to believe him when he says that he’s now “pro-life.” If we watched him take public, personal responsibility for his role in our culture of death, it would change how many of us perceive him. If we saw Trump repent for something, we’d be much more inclined to trust him with the presidency’s vast power.

Most importantly, such an event would encourage the millions of men and women whose hearts still are heavy with unacknowledged guilt to seek forgiveness — from God, from their child, and maybe from their partners. A man with the courage to help bring that about might begin to deserve our trust.

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