As Donald Trump pulled off a surprising victory over Hillary Clinton Tuesday night, the biggest winners may have been preborn babies. Trump, who has run with a pro-life agenda, has promised to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, defund Planned Parenthood, and uphold values that are consistent with a culture of life. Tuesday night, the American people gave him the ultimate chance to make good on that promise. Trump’s stances on issues related to life have been well-detailed over the past year or so he’s been in the political limelight, and they give Americans a peek at what to expect from him once he takes office.
Trump’s Pro-Life Position
In January, Trump penned an op-ed in the Washington Examiner explaining the importance of a culture of life in the nation:
Over time, our culture of life in this country has started sliding toward a culture of death. Perhaps the most significant piece of evidence to support this assertion is that since Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Count 43 years ago, over 50 million Americans never had the chance to enjoy the opportunities offered by this country. They never had the chance to become doctors, musicians, farmers, teachers, husbands, fathers, sons or daughters. They never had the chance to enrich the culture of this nation or to bring their skills, lives, loves or passions into the fabric of this country. They are missing, and they are missed.
It is by preserving our culture of life that we will Make America Great Again.
Trump’s shift from being pro-choice to pro-life came from a personal situation that served as a catalyst. Trump elaborated in an August debate on his evolution from being pro-choice to pro-life:
I hate the concept of abortion. And then since then, I’ve very much evolved. And what happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances. And I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.
He put it even more personally in a CBN interview in 2011, On The Issues reports:
One of the primary reasons I changed [was] a friend of mine’s wife was pregnant, and he didn’t really want the baby. He was crying as he was telling me the story. He ends up having the baby and the baby is the apple of his eye. It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him. And you know here’s a baby that wasn’t going to be let into life. And I heard this, and some other stories, and I am pro-life.
Trump on Planned Parenthood
Trump has been criticized for possibly supporting Planned Parenthood. In an interview on Meet the Press, he admitted he may have, but made his position on the abortion giant clear, even citing the Planned Parenthood videos from the Center for Medical Progress.
Q: Were you ever a donor to Planned Parenthood?
TRUMP: I don’t know–but it’s possible. I give to so many organizations over the years. Hundreds of millions of dollars, so I really don’t know. But look, Planned Parenthood has to stop with the abortions. A lot of people consider it an abortion clinic. I think those tapes that I saw were outrageous and disgusting by any standpoint. And they have to stop.
Q: So you would not shut down the government over Planned Parenthood funding?
TRUMP: I wouldn’t fund it if they have abortion going on. Now, you hear all different numbers. They say it’s 3%, other people say it’s 85%. That’s a big difference. So I’d certainly look into it.
While Trump has praised Planned Parenthood’s few health care services as good, he has made it clear that while the abortion giant continues in its specialty, it should not receive taxpayer funding. Sean Hannity posed the funding question to Trump in an interview in February:
HANNITY: Conservatives were concerned in the debate about — you said about Planned Parenthood, They do good things for women. I just don’t like the abortion side. Here’s my question.
TRUMP: That’s what I said. It’s true.
HANNITY: Should American taxpayers, though, pay $500 billion to that organization?
TRUMP: No, I said defund. I didn’t say pay. I said I have a lot of respect for some of the things they do, the cervical cancer on women. They do many, many good things. I know many women…
HANNITY: … no taxpayer money.
TRUMP: No, not while they do abortions. I made that clear. I made that clear, I think, at the debate.
Trump’s disdain for the abortion side of Planned Parenthood was one he reiterated in another interview when he went on The View and sparred with Whoopi Goldberg who attempted to further the Planned Parenthood three percent myth, that only three percent of the abortion chain’s services are abortions, when in reality it’s most of what they do (as shown in the video below, from Live Action):
But Trump said clearly:
I am against abortion… and that is a tremendous amount of the work [Planned Parenthood does].
However, some have expressed concern that since Trump has praised some good in Planned Parenthood that the organization could still receive funding since technically, federal funds cannot be used for abortions. Trump said:
I would look at the good aspects of it, and I would also look because I’m sure they do some things properly and good for women. I would look at that, and I would look at other aspects also, but we have to take care of women. The abortion aspect of Planned Parenthood should absolutely not be funded.
It’s possible Pence and other pro-life advisers will double down on the funding issue, ensuring Trump recognizes that due to money being fungible, every dollar Planned Parenthood receives for other purposes frees up other money for its abortion business.
Trump’s Supreme Court Promise
In May, the Huffington Post reported on Trump’s promise to select pro-life judges for the nation’s high court. Trump said:
I will protect it, and the biggest way you can protect it is through the Supreme Court and putting people on the court. Actually, the biggest way you can protect it, I guess, is by electing me president.
Politifact also notes Trump’s Supreme Court comments. It reported in February:
Trump said in a June 2015 CNN interview that he’d changed his position and would nominate Supreme Court justices sharing his “pro-life” stance. In an August 2015 Meet the Press interview, Trump said: “I’m pro-life. And I was begrudgingly the other way. But I have to say when those questions were asked, and that was many, many years ago, I wasn’t a politician.” In the 2015 interview, Trump also said abortion should be legal in cases of rape, incest and “if the mother is going to die,” calling those conditions “pretty much the standard three exceptions that many Republicans have.”
Trump on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
On the issue of embryonic stem cell research, Trump has not been as overtly pro-life. He told the Des Moines Register he wasn’t yet clear on that, saying, “I would say that I’d like to get back to you because I’m studying it very closely. It’s an issue, don’t forget, that as a businessman I’ve never been involved in.”
Trump on Abortion Exceptions
Trump has not wavered in his support of some abortion exceptions, despite the fact this differs from the GOP platform. Politico reports:
Donald Trump would “absolutely” change the Republican Party’s platform on abortion to include exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
Yes, I would,” Trump told NBC’s “Today” on Thursday when asked if he would change the party’s provision. “Yes, I would. Absolutely. For the three exceptions, I would… I would absolutely have the three exceptions.
And while Trump wasn’t the initial number one choice of many pro-lifers, his pro-life stance was vital to voters. The most searched election term on Google on Tuesday, for both parties, was abortion.
Trump’s pro-life views, while not as absolute as some would like them to be, are a step toward a culture of life in the United States. As Trump’s administration takes over, Americans may see less federal money being poured into a business whose primary purpose is killing preborn children, and they will hopefully also see more Supreme Court justices that are conservative pro-lifers.