PERKINS: Trump Townhall Underscores Life as a 2024 Issue
The Trump administration was, decidedly, the most pro-life in our history. During his debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016, former President Trump graphically described the brutality of the abortion procedure. A signal achievement was his appointment of three Supreme Court justices who support the Constitution as it was written, underscoring the sanctity of unborn life.
So, when President Trump’s spokesman recently said that “President Donald J. Trump believes … [abortion] is an issue that should be decided at the state level,” I was deeply concerned. That’s why, earlier this week, I joined Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, for a meeting in Florida to discuss the important topic directly with the former president.
Our sense of alarm has been growing. After last summer’s Supreme Court decision returned the power to defend life to the people, a number of Republicans heaved a sigh of relief. Many of them were glad to see the end of the fictional constitutional right to abortion, but some seemed more glad to kick the life issue back to the states than take any further action. More concerned with political consequences than protecting the unborn, their eagerness to abandon the pro-life cause was striking.
That’s not what they were saying before the Dobbs decision, which returned to them the power to defend life. Since the mid-1980s, the GOP has called for the right of the unborn to live to be recognized as the most fundamental of human rights. Overwhelmingly, Republican lawmakers have supported a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution and called upon legislators and judges in the states to respect human personhood in the womb, where life begins. Science tells us that personhood begins in the womb. For years, Republicans at the federal level have taken a stance in defense of life, and presidential administrations have defended it. So what has changed now?
None of these proposals would prevent states from enacting pro-life legislation, whether protecting the unborn after they can feel pain, after a certain point in gestation, protecting American taxpayers from funding abortion, or anything else. I was a state legislator in Louisiana for many years and authored a number of pro-life measures. And no one is more committed to a constitutional understanding of the limits of the federal government and the broad authority of the states than me. Yet personhood in the womb is not just a state issue — it is the most profound of all human rights issues. It merits federal consideration — and protection.
During our meeting in Miami, Mr. Trump reaffirmed his commitment to protecting children who can feel pain and are actually sucking their thumb in their mother’s womb. His horror at late-term abortion and the incredible idea that some so-called “unwanted” children could be left to die after birth remains unchanged. That’s why we met with him: To encourage the former president to stay strong on the issue of the sanctity of human life. And I can report that Mr. Trump has not changed his position. He remains committed to his strong presidential track record of defending the unborn to the fullest extent of the executive branch’s authority.
During his Wednesday town hall in New Hampshire, he said of his pro-life record, “I am honored to have done what I did.” President Trump noted several times during the event that pro-abortion activists are radical. And radicals are unreasonable and never satisfied. This is why, in last November’s elections, Democrats spent at least $320 million in advertising to attack the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The Biden administration has authorized nearly half a billion dollars of taxpayer funds that can be used to subsidize abortions and abortion businesses. Republicans spend only a fraction of this amount celebrating unborn life.
I deeply appreciate the pro-life, pro-family policies that President Trump’s administration advanced. As we move into the 2024 presidential election cycle, my role will not be to endorse in the primary election but to work with the candidates, like President Trump, to ensure the issues impacting faith, family, and freedom are understood and advanced. My focus will be ensuring that the sanctity of human life, upholding the true, God-given purpose of human sexuality, and the myriad policies that affect the family — ranging from religious freedom to tax policy — remain front and center.
It is encouraging to see that Mr. Trump remains committed to defending the little ones in the womb. But how much more heartening it is to know the God Who gives us the privilege of protecting them and their mother from the abortion industry. That’s a high calling, and we’ll never retreat from it.
Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council and executive editor of The Washington Stand.