Pence: Trump betrayed pro-life movement

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Then-President Donald Trump and then-Vice President Mike Pence are seen after Trump's address on the first day of the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Aug. 24, 2020. (OSV News photo/Leah Millis, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (OSV News) — Former Vice President Mike Pence argued his ex-running mate, former President Donald Trump betrayed the pro-life movement by stating his opposition to implementing federal abortion restrictions should he be elected to another term in 2024.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, issued a video statement earlier in April arguing abortion should be left to individual states to legislate, disappointing some pro-life activists who had sought a commitment from him to support a 15-week limit on elective abortions.

Pence was Trump’s running mate in the 2016 and 2020 elections but broke with Trump by rejecting Trump’s unfounded claims of a stolen election and certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election despite the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Pence criticizes Trump’s abortion stance

He wrote in an April 20 opinion piece for The New York Times that “serving as vice president in the most pro-life administration in American history was one of the greatest honors of my life.”

“Of all our accomplishments, I am perhaps most proud that the Supreme Court justices we confirmed voted to send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history, ending a travesty of jurisprudence that led to the death of more than 63 million unborn Americans,” Pence wrote.

That is why he found it “so disheartening” to see Trump’s “recent retreat from the pro-life cause,” Pence continued.

“Like so many other advocates for life, I was deeply disappointed when Mr. Trump stated that he considered abortion to be a states-only issue and would not sign a bill prohibiting late-term abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even if it came to his desk,” he wrote.

Pence also took aim at Trump’s criticism of abortion limits in states such as Florida and Arizona, and Republicans who have followed suit.

“Now not only is Mr. Trump retreating from that position; he is leading other Republicans astray,” Pence wrote. “One recent example is an Arizona Republican running for the U.S. Senate who followed Trump’s lead and pledged to oppose a federal ban on late-term abortions. When our leaders aren’t firmly committed to life, others will waver, too. Courage inspires imitation. So does weakness.”

Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake — who described abortion as “execution” during her failed 2022 gubernatorial run — has signaled her support for Trump’s position and her opposition to an April 9 ruling by the Arizona Supreme Court that found a Civil War-era abortion ban enforceable.

Strong pro-life leadership needed

Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, told OSV News, “I am grateful to former Vice President Pence for explaining the urgent need for federal protection of unborn life especially at this time when so many are confused about the way forward.

“Right now we need strong pro-life leaders who confidently chart the path towards a culture in which all human life is welcomed,” Mancini said. “This is a human rights issue so fundamental that no elected official can afford to ignore or abandon it.”

The Catholic Church teaches that all human life is sacred and must be respected from conception to natural death, opposing direct abortion as an act of violence that takes the life of the unborn child.

After the Dobbs decision, Church officials in the United States have reiterated the Church’s concern for both mother and child, and called to bolster streams of support addressing causes that can push women toward having an abortion.

Kate Scanlon

Kate Scanlon is a national reporter for OSV News covering Washington.