During the campaign cycle, President-elect Trump worked hard to gain the pro-life movement’s support. He created a pro-life coalition and appointed some of our nation’s best pro-life leaders to it. He picked a staunch pro-life advocate as his Vice Presidential pick (Governor Mike Pence was working to defund Planned Parenthood back before it was cool). He selected Kellyanne Conway to be his campaign manager – a bold pro-life advocate who also is now the first woman to manage a successful presidential campaign.
And finally, during his campaign Trump made four campaign promises to the pro-life movement. Here are the four promises he made:
- To nominate pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- To sign into law the 20-week ban, aka the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, to, as Trump put it, “end painful late-term abortions nation-wide.”
- To defund the largest abortion provider in the country, Planned Parenthood, and reallocate those funds to community healthcare centers that provide comprehensive care to women.
- To make the Hyde Amendment permanent law, protecting Americans from having to pay for most abortions.
Here’s the inside scoop on each of these pro-life promises and why they’re so important:
Promise 1: Pro-life Supreme Court Justices
This promise is pretty straightforward. Earlier in the campaign, to double down on this promise, Trump released a list of pro-life Justices he’d select from.
It’s important to know three things about the Supreme Court:
- Even with Justice Scalia’s replacement being pro-life, we still don’t necessarily have a pro-life majority on the Court.If the Justices did overturn Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton (the two Supreme Court decisions that legalized abortion), then the decision about whether or not abortion is legal would be returned to the state.
- Abortion wouldn’t just be banned outright across the country.It’s important not to place all our hope in the Supreme Court. Ultimately it’s the grassroots – if the people reject abortion then the nation will reject it.
- Remember, we didn’t stop slavery by overturning the terrible Dred Scott Supreme Court case.
Promise 2: The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (20 Week Ban)
There is universal agreement in the scientific community that an unborn child experiences fetal pain by at least 20 weeks old. (Dr. Maureen Condic, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah, testified to this point before Congress in May of 2013).
This Act would make abortion illegal at the time when the 5-month-old unborn child can feel the pain of being dismembered by the abortion. It would also make abortions illegal at the time when children can begin surviving outside the womb – starting at around 22-24 weeks.
Maternal health is also a huge consideration here. Clarke Forsythe, senior counsel at Americans United for Life and an Illinois resident, has studied this point in-depth:
“…late-term abortions are considerably more threatening to women’s health. The increased mortality from late-term abortions is as clear as any medical fact can be in America’s dysfunctional system of voluntary abortion reporting by providers.
A 2004 medical study published by Dr. Linda Bartlett in Obstetrics & Gynecology found that the relative risk of abortion-related mortality jumped from 14.7 per 100,000 women at 13-15 weeks gestation. It doubled by 16 to 20 weeks and doubled again at or after 21 weeks. Add to that the frequent inaccuracy of gestational dating by doctors and a clear legal limit at 20 weeks is imperative to protect women.
Late-term abortions are more dangerous for several reasons. With late-term abortions, there is increased risk of infection and hemorrhage, embolism, perforation, or rupture of the uterus, and complications from anesthesia. The life and health of women is threatened by miscalculating the gestational age in late-term abortions.”
This bill is a common sense protection that 66% of Americans say they want.
Here’s the reality of this Trump promise: in order to pass this bill and send it to Trump to sign, we need 60 votes in the Senate. In past votes on this bill, we haven’t reached 60 votes. Look for this to be a fierce Congressional battle and a major player in the next election when more than 25 pro-abortion Congressional leaders are up for reelection.
Promise 3: Defunding Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood received $528 million from us, the taxpayers, in 2015. Trump has proposed that as long as Planned Parenthood performs abortions, they should not be allowed to collect money from the federal government. He wants to reroute that $528 million to community healthcare clinics that provide women’s healthcare but not abortions.
Because Planned Parenthood funding is part of a reconciliation bill, the Senate doesn’t need the normal 60 votes for the measure to pass – it needs 51 votes to pass. We have 51 pro-life votes in the Senate. Rumors, weeks after Trump’s election, point to Trump thinking of calling a special session on his inauguration day to pass this reconciliation bill (which would also repeal the HHS Abortion Mandate and parts of Obamacare).
This is a very real possibility. It is important to note however that this will eliminate roughly 80% of Planned Parenthood funding. Other funding for the abortion giant is tied up very tightly in Title X funding. That will be more complicated to remove. We need Congress to step up and pass this bill immediately.
Promise 4: Making the Hyde Amendment Permanent
The Hyde Amendment was proposed by Illinois Representative Henry Hyde and enacted in 1976. Hyde said, we ““cannot in logic and conscience help fund the execution of these innocent, defenseless human lives.”
The Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List, said this amendment has saved over 2 million babies from abortion.
During Sec. of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, she – and the DNC – promised to make it a priority to repeal the Hyde Amendment and force all Americans to pay for abortions through all nine months of pregnancy.
This Amendment must be renewed every year, and Trump has promised to work to make it permanent.
The reality is that again, we need 60 pro-life votes in the Senate to send this to Trump’s desk and we currently do not have 60 pro-life votes. Look for pro-abortion Congressmen to become very uncomfortable with voting against this originally bipartisan amendment. President Clinton signed it into law. Americans overwhelmingly support the Hyde Amendment and it could be a major issue in the next election cycle.
It is going to be up to us, the grassroots pro-life movement, to hold Trump and Congress to their pro-life promises. Our hard work is just starting. Now is the time to pay close attention, because those who don’t keep their promises, aren’t worth our vote.