Last night at the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual gala, there was more than one reference to President Trump as the most pro-life president ever. This is an odd reference for a president who, in private life, was an emphatic supporter of abortion for his entire life. The arrangement here is a demonstration of the pragmatism that has led single-issue voters to feel such loyalty toward the president despite him having to sing off of a sheet someone else wrote for him (the same phenomenon is true of gun-owners). It’s early yet, but they might turn out to be correct.
Pres @realDonaldTrump quoting Jeremiah 1:5 at pro-life gala:
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …"
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) May 23, 2018
This is not because of Trump’s personal dedication to the issue, of course. Trump knows where his strengths exist, and he is emphatically in favor of doubling down on them. This goes far beyond appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Trump also rolled back President Obama’s contraception mandate, expanded the Mexico City policy, and most recently, cut off roughly 80 million dollars of Title X funding to Planned Parenthood by reinstating the Reagan Rule on recipients.
Willis Krumholz explained the most recent move.
In 1970, Congress created Title X as a grant program to provide birth control and sexually transmitted disease treatment to low-income women. The program has always been banned from funding abortion. But in the 1970s and ‘80s, the law was interpreted to allow the entity giving birth control to be the same entity selling abortion or referring patients for abortions.
In 1988, President Reagan issued a regulation that said no Title X funds could go to a birth control provider that was “co-located” with an abortion clinic or that referred patients for abortion. The regulation was challenged and went all the way to the Supreme Court, where it was found to be legal in the case Rust v. Sullivan.
When Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, he reversed Reagan’s regulation, and George W. Bush’s administration never brought it back. President Trump’s regulation brings back the co-location prohibition, but it does not bring back Reagan’s ban on abortion referrals (although it does remove the radical and illegal requirement that a recipient of Title X funds must make abortion referrals, which precluded many pro-life clinics from receiving Title X funds).
More at Politico on how anti-abortion forces learned to love Trump.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday night was feted by a leading anti-abortion group that called him the most “pro-life president” ever. It’s the exact same group that just two years ago begged Iowa caucus voters to nominate “anyone” but Trump.
‘I’m totally eating my words,’ said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who praised Trump at the group’s annual gala in Washington. ‘It’s the happiest wrong I’ve ever been.’
Thanks to Trump, the anti-abortion movement has notched victories on federal funding for Planned Parenthood, allowing businesses to opt out of contraception coverage in health plans and confirming conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The president as a result has amassed an army of loyalists who are eyeing November’s midterm elections as an opportunity to ensure that Trump’s next Supreme Court pick — if he gets one — puts them a step closer toward undoing Roe v. Wade, the ruling that established abortion rights.
SBA led the 2016 anti-Trump letter to Iowa caucusgoers and a follow-up to South Carolina primary voters. The movement at the time was deeply skeptical of the candidate, who in the past had defined himself as ‘pro-choice,’ was on his third marriage and has a history of making disparaging comments about women. But they say he has governed consistently as an anti-abortion president.
‘I care far less about the veneer and the polish than I do about the concrete actions that have concrete consequences,’ Dannenfelser said.
This pragmatism represents something else: it indicates the pro-life movement has come to grips with the reality that it does not matter who represents pro-life views from the bully pulpit of the presidency – what matters is what they do.