On Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump issued a belated recognition of Roe v. Wade’s 43rd anniversary, with a Washington Examiner editorial articulating his “vision for a culture of life.”
Trump opens by affirming that he is pro-life with exceptions for rape, incest, and to save a mother’s life and alluding to (but not recounting) his pro-life conversion. He then draws an analogy between his business in real estate and the right to life:
The rules for putting structures together are as strict as are the rules of physics. These rules have stood the test of time and have become the path to putting together structures that endure and are beautiful. America, when it is at its best, follows a set of rules that have worked since our Founding. One of those rules is that we, as Americans, revere life and have done so since our Founders made it the first, and most important, of our ‘unalienable’ rights.
Trump goes on to lament Roe v. Wade depriving over 50 million people of “the chance to enrich the culture of this nation or to bring their skills, lives, loves or passions into the fabric of this country,” criticizes Roe for misinterpreting the Constitution and depriving the states and the public of the right to vote on abortion, and calling for an end to abortion’s taxpayer funding.
On Friday, Live Action News noted that Trump was the only one of the top-tier GOP presidential candidates who failed to recognize Roe’s anniversary on the actual date, while Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, and Ben Carson all took the opportunity to make pro-life statements on social media.
Trump’s authenticity on the issue has been an open question among pro-lifers. In 1999 he was so committed to the pro-choice position that he defended partial-birth abortion, but converted to pro-life sometime prior to 2011, attributing the change to the birth of a friend’s child. While pro-lifers generally welcome such conversions, a number of more recent Trump statements have caused doubts to linger, such as his suggestions last summer that Planned Parenthood might continue to deserve partial funding for its non-abortion activities, and that his sister, Circuit Court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, would be an excellent Supreme Court Justice despite ruling to uphold partial-birth abortion.