Pro-lifers call abortion a federal issue, despite Trump’s new stance

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Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he holds a campaign rally at Coastal Carolina University ahead of the South Carolina Republican presidential primary in Conway, South Carolina, Feb. 10, 2024. (OSV News photo/Sam Wolfe, Reuters)

National pro-life organizations criticized former President Donald Trump’s statements on abortion, calling on the Republican presidential candidate to take a stronger approach to life issues.

In a video posted April 8th to Trump’s social media platform, Truth Social, the former president said, “My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation, or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land, in this case, the law of the state.”

Two days later, at an event in Atlanta, a reporter asked if Trump would sign a national abortion ban given the opportunity. He replied, “No.”

In the past, Trump has been hailed as a pro-life hero, especially for prioritizing pro-life Supreme Court appointments that led to the eventual overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade case in 2022.

After Trump’s statements, however, pro-life organizations across the country were quick to call out the president for his apparent disregard for the pro-life movement.

‘Killing babies is always wrong’

Lila Rose, the founder and president of Live Action, a leading pro-life advocacy organization, released a statement on April 8, criticizing Trump for his comments.

“Killing babies is always wrong,” Rose said. “President Trump is not a pro-life candidate. He’s far less pro-abortion than Biden, but he supports killing some preborn children and will even make that his position in an attempt to get pro-abortion votes.”

In the statement, Rose criticized Trump for abandoning the GOP platform and predicted that his statements could hinder the pro-life movement from making progress at the state level.

“President Trump’s new position is not leadership; it’s a stab in the back against his supporters. With a leader like this, the GOP has little hope of making meaningful progress to protect preborn children,” Rose said. “President Trump’s mistake will also make it more challenging for the pro-life movement to win statewide referendums.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, conveyed a similar position to Rose, saying in a press release that the organization is “disappointed by Trump” and is worried that the statement will cause great harm to the pro-life issue.”

“We are deeply disappointed in President Trump’s position. Unborn children and their mothers deserve national protections and national advocacy from the brutality of the abortion industry. The Dobbs decision clearly allows both states and Congress to act,” Dannenfelser said.

Better than Biden

Students for Life of America, a pro-life non-profit founded by Kristan Hawkins, issued a response praising the former president for stating in the address “that under my leadership, the Republican Party will always support the creation of strong, thriving, and healthy American families.

“Unlike President Biden, President Trump begins his remarks on abortion celebrating ‘the ultimate joy in ‘life’ — children and family. That kind of love and support for the bedrock of society, the family, will be a welcome change in the White House,” Hawkins said. “With the mutual goals of supporting families and welcoming young children, we can work together to restore the culture of life stripped away by the national Democratic Party and their leadership.”

However, Hawkins criticized Trump for not supporting a federal ban on abortion, saying that the administration must learn and support the idea that abortion is not just a state issue but a federal issue.

“We clearly have some work to do to educate the Trump administration about the many ways that abortion has been made federal,” Hawkins said. “To be clear, the Pro-Life Movement is united that abortion is a federal issue, and we won’t stop working until every child, in every state, is protected in life by law and service.” 

Jack Figge

Jack Figge has written for multiple diocesan papers, including covering World Youth Day 2023 for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas. In addition to his local coverage, he has written for the National Catholic Register, FOCUS and Catholic Vote.