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Trump Disappoints Pro-Life Advocates by Deferring Abortion Decision to States

Abortion Policy Statement by Former President Donald Trump

In a video statement obtained from a release on April 8, 2024, former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican presidential candidate, expressed his views on abortion policy. Trump advocated for leaving the decision on abortion legislation to individual states, refraining from endorsing federal restrictions supported by pro-life activists.

Trump credited himself for the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the longstanding precedent set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. However, he emphasized that the regulation of abortion should now be determined by the states through voting or legislation, asserting that the states’ decisions should prevail as the law of the land.

Throughout his third presidential campaign, Trump has been hesitant to adopt a definitive stance on abortion. He previously attributed the Republican Party’s underperformance in the 2022 midterm elections to the abortion issue and pro-life voters, drawing criticism even from his supporters. Analysts, on the other hand, attributed the party’s struggles partly to campaign quality issues and Trump’s repeated, unsubstantiated claims of election fraud in 2020.

Trump’s statement sidesteps the demands of pro-life organizations urging him to commit to endorsing federal restrictions and dismisses reports suggesting his support for a national abortion ban at 15 or 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, expressed disappointment with Trump’s position, emphasizing the need for national protections for unborn children and their mothers. She highlighted that the Dobbs ruling allows both states and Congress to take action on this crucial issue.

Former Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s former running mate, criticized Trump’s shift on the Right to Life, characterizing it as a letdown for the millions of pro-life Americans who supported him in the previous elections. Pence underscored the importance of nominating conservative justices and the opportunity provided by the Dobbs decision to advocate for national protections for the unborn through federal legislation.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stressed the responsibility of legislators to safeguard vulnerable unborn life at both the state and federal levels following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case. He called for efforts to reverse abortion-promoting regulations, end taxpayer funding for abortion, and establish nationwide standards that uphold the sanctity of life.

Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life Action, commended Trump for emphasizing the value of children and family in his abortion remarks, contrasting his approach with that of President Biden. Hawkins highlighted the importance of educating the Trump Administration on the federal implications of abortion policies and advocated for a collaborative effort to restore a culture of life in the country.

The Catholic Church’s stance on abortion underscores the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death, condemning direct abortion as an act of violence against the unborn. Post the Dobbs decision, church officials in the U.S. reiterated the importance of supporting both mothers and children and addressing underlying factors that lead women to consider abortion.

In the same video, Trump expressed support for granting access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) in all states following a ruling by Alabama’s Supreme Court recognizing frozen embryos as children under the state’s wrongful death law. Despite this, the Catholic Church, as outlined in the 1987 document “Donum Vitae” or “The Gift of Life,” opposes IVF and related practices due to concerns about the destruction of human embryos associated with these procedures.