These past two weeks have made it clear the Democrats have decided to become Abortion radicals. New York proceeded to legalize abortions up to full-term, and Virginia is considering legislation to do the same. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam somehow went further than full-term, arguing that already born children could be aborted, but fortunately for them, in a “comfortable” setting. Gone are the days of Bob Casey and ‘Safe, Legal, and Rare.” Either due to fear of Planned Parenthood, or because they have been bought and paid for by Big Abortion, the Democratic Party (with a few brave exceptions such as Congressman Dan Lipinski, Governor John Bel Edwards, and Democrats for Life) has determined to jettison any pro-lifers and anyone who has any hesitancy whatsoever concerning Abortion on demand. The extent of the extremism the Democratic Party is pushing towards cannot be overstated.
This should present Republicans a major opportunity to reach pro-life voters and push for the cause of unborn life. The GOP has taken pro-life votes for granted for so long, though, that they seem to have no interest in moving the ball on this issue. In a 2-year span with a Republican White House, Senate, and Congress, Planned Parenthood is still funded by our tax dollars and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion act is still unpassed. Even looking at judicial nominations, the President passed on a very strong choice in Amy Coney Barrett to appoint Brett Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has little track record on the issue, is a DC elite who doesn’t inspire hope he would fully overturn Roe (certainly as compared to Barrett), and whom David French says appears very timid on the issue. Overall, it seems likely a President Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, or Jeb Bush would have accomplished more or as much on this issue had they been elected.
Even if Pro-Lifers had every pick of judges they wanted, though, that would still not be enough to justify a full alliance with this President. As Matthew Lee Anderson wrote with foresight in Mere Orthodoxy back in July 2016:
“Suggesting that the thin hope of conservative justices on the courts justifies accepting such cultural consequences also seems to rest on either naivety or hubris. It is hard to know which. Pro-lifers will not be able to distance themselves from Trump’s shenanigans, though they will try: if he is their candidate, they will be made to own everything he does if he is elected President. Political action has a symbolic character: it sets a narrative, and that narrative matters as much for the long-term future of a particular movement as do the judicial opinions that result from it. In this case, it is a ludicrously easy story to tell: Pro-lifers are willing to accept misogyny, divorce, racism, and so on for their political ends.
Pro-lifers will protest that voting for Donald Trump does not mean endorsing everything Trump does. And they would be right. Yet I say it’s either ‘naivity’ or ‘hubris,’ because the pro-life movement hasn’t exactly been stellar at framing its own identity. The cultural and media headwinds they face go a long ways toward explaining the struggle. But in this case, they add to those the fact that their critics will have a serious and legitimate point. Voting for Trump means treating everything else he does as acceptable *on the condition* that he also promises — merely promises, mind you — conservative justices. The pro-life movement can justify supporting Trump only by viewing his character, his known sexual vices, his unrepentant history of supporting abortion, etc. as acceptable side-effects that, in this case, are the cost of their hope for conservative justices.”
Among the items this President has tied to the Pro-Life movement by association includes a Refugee Ban, Racist Sentiments and Actions, Intentionally Separating kids from their families, and a history of mysogny and credible sexual assault accusations. While the movement has gotten Conservative judges, it has come at a political cost that may not be collected for a while, but almost surely will on this trajectory.
Pro-Lifers have still chosen to go all in on the Trump movement. On the one hand, this is somewhat understandable due to the radical shift in the Democratic Party on the issue. That said, the Pro-Life movement did not need to buy in to Trump nearly to the extent it has. For as little progress as has been made, was it really necessary to make Mike Pence a center-point of every March for Life since Trump was elected? Did having President Trump keynote the Susan B. Anthony List dinner reward or lead to any meaningful pro-life results? Has all the support for Trump from very vocal pastors led to anything meaningful? The recent March for Life served as a catalyst for some to start thinking about these questions, and despite the Democrats’ radicalism, a shotgun marriage with Trumpism isn’t the prudent response either.
So, if the Democrats are purging virtually anyone who does not express complete devotion to the Abortion lobby, and Trumpism provides no meaningful reforms while associating completely unacceptable baggage with the Pro-Life movement, where does that leave us? 99% of the Democratic Party is anathema to our views on this issue, and there are only a handful of candidates on that side the movement could ever seek to promote. On the other hand, a continuing bond with Trump positions the Pro-Life movement poorly for the future. From an electoral standpoint, most groups of Americans who will determine the direction of the Country are moving from away from Trump. Minority groups and Millennials are actually not particularly hostile to the pro-life position, but becoming too tied to Trumpism could change their feelings and hurt the movement’s long-term prospects. The Pro-Life movement gains when we our helping women in crisis, promoting adoption, and caring for life at all stages. Trumpism in perception is the social Darwinist opposite, and it’s easy to see where in reality the perception comes from. Even beyond electoral politics, it’s simply inconsistent to reconcile a pro-life ethic with intentional family separation, bragging of sexual assault, and other vices Trump inevitably encompasses.
The correct direction combines the political and non-political sides of the Pro-Life movement. Outside politics, we should continue to provide assistance to expectant mothers, help our local Crisis Pregnancy Centers, support adoption and families that adopt, and speak out for justice at all stages of life. That is how we most tangibly show our communities that we care about the unborn, and that they should as well. Politically, except for those who are called to support the few pro-life Democrats there are and to push the party away from radicalism, the best option is to support pro-active, pro-life Republicans who do not antagonize the pro-life ethic on other issues outside Abortion.
We need Republicans, of whom there are far too few right now, who will fight and expend political capital for a 20-week abortion ban, defunding Planned Parenthood, passing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion act, and nominating the Amy Coney Barrett’s of the world to the high court. These same Republicans should be people of character who believe in united families, racial justice, and a respect for the equality of women. If the Pro-Life movement can pull away from Trumpism and support candidates who espouse these virtues at all levels of government, we can save our long-term political prospects of success and not compromise the soul of the movement in the process.