Will Pro-Lifers for Trump Get Dumped — Like Ivana and Marla?
“If he’ll cheat on her, he’ll cheat on you,” is what Southern mothers tell their daughters, warning them that stealing away a woman’s husband isn’t just gravely immoral. It also means you’re as dumb as a box of rocks. A man who proves that he’s willing to be unfaithful this time is pretty much promising you that he’ll be unfaithful next time, when you’re the victim. The only safe response to a man like this is Carrie Underwood’s: “The next time he cheats/it won’t be on me.”
And that’s what we’d like pro-life Americans to think about as they consider Donald Trump. Not Mr. Trump’s personal life [warning: graphic content] — the fact that he abandoned one aging wife (Ivana) to take up with a younger woman (Marla), then dumped her just shy of the date when their pre-nup would have expired, chivalrously breaking her the news by leaking it to a newspaper, and leaving a copy of the paper on her bed. No, that’s strictly personal stuff, and there’s no way we can learn about a man’s promise-keeping habits from irrelevant data like that. Instead, let’s think about Trump’s stated, public record on life issues, and what it means.
But first please walk on a little imaginative journey with us. Pretend, for just a second, that the pro-life movement acted as an effective pressure group, like the gun lobby. Imagine if in addition to its spiritual uplift mission, the pro-life movement were disciplined, rigorous and political. This would make sense on the face of it, since its stated goal is to change the laws of this country. (For more, see “The Pro-Life Art of War.”)
Yes, we do hope to change Americans’ hearts, and restore the dignity of sex, and build up a wholesome culture that sees life as meaningful and beautiful. But that is really a job for the churches, one which too many good-hearted people have piled onto the pro-life movement because their churches aren’t bothering with it. That sad fact makes it all too easy to lose our focus on the movement’s stated goal, which is to legally protect a whole class of abandoned Americans from lethal violence. Period. If that has the happy side effects of strengthening marriage, curing the “hook-up” culture, increasing respect for women, and helping souls to accept Jesus as Lord — and we think it will — then all the better.
But first the laws must change. There is no substitute. If we had never outlawed slavery, you can count on it people would own some. If segregation in restaurants had never been outlawed, it would still prevail in many places. The law is a great teacher. It tells citizens what is really, really important — important enough that if you flout the law, there are people in uniform who will come to your door. We wouldn’t settle for a nation that had changed its heart, but not its laws, on slavery or segregation, and we can’t when it comes to abortion.
The Margaret Sanger Argument Against Abortion
If you were pro-life in the same way that the head of the NRA is pro-gun rights, would you settle for a candidate who had spent most of his life as a radical anti-gun advocate, supporting the seizure of all private weapons? Well, Donald Trump favored abortion on demand until … some point after he decided to run for president. In 1999, he expressed support even for partial birth abortion, the destruction of near-newborns who could survive outside the womb. By 2011, Trump claimed to be pro-life, recalling that he knew “a friend had a child who they were going to abort, and now they have it, and the child is incredible.” In a GOP debate, Trump upped the ante, calling that lucky child a “superstar.” Jamie Weinstein of The Daily Caller, as a good journalist, asked Trump the obvious question:
Would Trump have changed his view on abortion if the child had become a total loser?
“I’ve never thought of it,” Trump said in our interview. “That’s an interesting question. I’ve never thought of it. Probably not, but I’ve never thought of it.”
Margaret Sanger couldn’t have said it any better. In fact, Trump’s view echoes her slogan: “More children from the fit, fewer from the unfit.” He would realize that if he ever took the time to think about it, which he admits he has not. That’s how important the deaths of a million American pre-born children each year are to Donald Trump: unworthy of two consecutive, logical thoughts, bridged by an inference. Would the NRA settle for this kind of callous “conversion” from a lifelong gun-grabber? Why should pro-lifers?
Perhaps it’s not surprising that when every pro-lifer in America was reeling from the gruesome footage obtained by journalistic hero David Daleiden, which proved that Planned Parenthood doesn’t just kill unborn babies, but cuts them up for parts, Donald Trump was one of the few Republicans to openly say that the government should go on funding that ghoulish group. He argued that the taxpayer should pay for all the non-abortion stuff (like imaginary mammograms) that Planned Parenthood is supposed to do — a distinction which he understands is meaningless. If your son is a heroin addict, you can’t make a deal with him that you will pay all his other bills, but will not pay for his drugs. Of course, you’re just freeing up his other money for … buying drugs! A man who has navigated four bankruptcies unscathed, while his investors lost tens of millions, surely understands basic accounting better than that.
We all know the way that abortion was legalized for all nine months, for any reason, in 50 states, against the wishes of voters — by unelected judges. In the same way, same-sex marriage and countless other evils have been foisted on us, and carved in stone out of voters’ reach. Trump knows this too. He knows that vast power has been seized from the citizens of this country by a cabal of judges, the presidents who appoint them, and the senators who confirm them.
This travesty of democracy which perverts and degrades our Constitution is one of the main complaints of the entire conservative movement — including immigration restrictionists, who note that “birthright citizenship” was only applied to illegal immigrants by virtue of a crackpot Supreme Court decision made in 1898. The greatest disappointment to social conservatives of three Republican presidents has been their mixed record of choosing Supreme Court appointees. Notice that Democratic presidents never, never disappoint the abortion lobby. Why do you think that is? Because they wouldn’t get away with it. Republican candidates know that they can, so they do. Since up to four Supreme Court seats might become vacant in the next presidential term, this issue matters more than ever, and more than most. The next four (or eight) years of presidential Court appointments could change America radically, revoking gun rights and gutting the First Amendment’s free exercise of religion.
So you’d think that the fervent pro-life convert Donald Trump would be keenly attuned to the need for appointing solid Constitutionalists to federal courts, especially the Supreme Court. But you would be wrong. When asked about this issue, Trump didn’t offer some mealy-mouthed speech about avoiding “litmus tests,” as too many weak pro-life politicians do. No, he didn’t hint with a wink that he might betray us. He outright promised to. Trump cited as the kind of judge he’d appoint to the Court his left-wing, judicial activist sister, who in the Trump tradition supports partial birth abortion. Some were tempted to write this statement off, even excuse it, as a mere example of charming, roguish nepotism. Really? Would Wayne LaPierre of the NRA settle for such an excuse? So why should we?
Lately, it seems that someone who knows the pro-life movement has gotten to Mr. Trump, and helped him to hire a ghostwriter. We’re glad that writer found work, but it’s hard to take seriously an op-ed like Trump’s recent piece in the Washington Examiner, which flies in the face not only of what he was saying in recent years, but in recent months. Given what he has said over many years, and in unguarded moments when there was no ghostwriter at hand, we must take Trump’s pro-life promises no more seriously than he took his business debts, or “till death do us part.”
If pro-lifers accept at face value Donald Trump’s half-hearted, fingers-crossed, nod-and-a-wink conversion, then they really are as clueless as Donald Trump thinks all Republican voters are. He boasted just this weekend that he “could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” If voters choose such a man as the legal champion of innocent unborn life, then they deserve to be betrayed. But those unborn babies don’t.
Or maybe some “pro-lifers” just don’t care. They are so concerned with winning, with sidling up to the big dog, with walling off the border or stopping goods from China, that a fig leaf’s enough for them. Ann Coulter, with her famous good taste, responded to Trump’s vague immigration plan by Tweeting:
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) August 16, 2015
Pro-lifers who share her priorities will nod at Trump’s empty promises, and pretend that they believe them. Then they’ll bat their eyes, sign the prenup, and give The Donald what he wants.