Trump steamrolls anti-abortion groups

Recently, Donald Trump expressed his disapproval of Florida’s six-week abortion ban, declined to support nationwide restrictions, held anti-abortion supporters accountable for Republicans’ 2022 election letdowns, and promised to collaborate with Democrats in addressing the issue if he becomes elected.

There is a lack of consensus among anti-abortion organizations regarding potential actions to take.

His Republican rivals have been using his remarks to try and narrow the large gap in the polls by criticizing Trump for being an unreliable conservative. This has put the anti-abortion movement in a difficult position, as they do not want to upset the expected nominee but also do not want to ignore his statements.

Patrick Brown, a member of the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Life and Family Initiative, questioned whether pro-life advocates will accept being undervalued by political candidates or if they will defend their lifelong commitment to the cause.

Trump’s attempt to have it both ways on the fraught issue — calling himself “the most pro-life president ever” and taking credit for the fall of Roe v. Wade while also shunning the priorities of the anti-abortion groups that helped elect him in 2016 — has exposed those groups’ struggle for relevance in a lopsided primary and highlighted ongoing divisions inside the movement.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, along with former Vice President Mike Pence, swiftly criticized Trump for his refusal to support a 15-week national ban. Pence accused Trump of attempting to diminish the importance of the pro-life movement after giving a speech to the Family Research Council.

After receiving criticism from DeSantis and others, Steven Cheung, spokesperson for the Trump campaign, highlighted Trump’s accomplishments regarding abortion.

According to Cheung, actions such as nominating pro-life federal judges and Supreme Court justices who have overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, ending taxpayer funded abortions, reinstating the Mexico City Policy to protect unborn lives abroad, and other efforts have all been in support of the rights of the unborn. These actions have been attempted for over 50 years by others.

This prompted them to consider his potential as an ally if he were to win the election and how they could steer him back towards their perspective.

According to John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council and author of “Legacy of Life: Honoring 50 of the greatest pro-life leaders of the last 50 years,” Trump’s supporters are generally loyal, but there is a possibility that this particular issue could weaken their support, unless their loyalty is solely based on his personality rather than his beliefs.

“It will be a significant challenge for those who advocate for the pro-life movement and also support DeSantis,” remarked Stemberger. Although he personally favors DeSantis, Stemberger hopes he will make a promise to enact a federal anti-abortion legislation. “I am amazed that he is neglecting the main concern of social conservatives and Christians.”

Several conservatives disagreed with Trump’s statement on Meet the Press that he could negotiate a resolution on abortion with Democrats and permanently resolve the issue.

The Human Coalition Action, a group against abortion, criticized him for trying to find middle ground on the number of legal deaths allowed. Terry Schilling, the president of the American Principles Project, rejected the idea but praised Trump’s anti-abortion stance.

are also worried Trump’s calls for compromise and moderation could win people over. They scrambled over the past week to remind voters of Trump’s staunch anti-abortion rights record during his first term.
has climbed since Roe fell and the issue has the power to decide elections.

“It’s clear Republicans are reading the same polls we are and know it’s a toxic issue for them,” said Ryan Stitzlein, the group’s vice president of political and government relations. “The fact they haven’t landed on a unified strategy shows they don’t know how to handle this. So you have candidates scrubbing their websites or refusing to talk about it, and you have people like Trump trying to portray themselves as a moderate.”

Anti-abortion supporters are unsure of how to regain Trump’s loyalty. They caution that even though this approach may attract certain voters, it could also alienate the ones he truly relies on.

According to Perkins, individuals who are opposed to abortion are unlikely to support Joe Biden in the upcoming election. However, it is important for us to find a way to encourage them to vote. While Donald Trump has significant support from conservatives, the previous election showed that his margin of victory was slim. Therefore, each vote is crucial.