The campaign for President Donald Trump says that the former president thinks that the issue of whether babies are killed in abortions should only be decided at the state level — a position one leading pro-life group says is “unacceptable.”
In a new interview with the Washington Post, the Trump campaign would not comment on the new 6-week abortion ban that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law last week to protect babies and help women.
But a campaign representative did speak about Trump’s views of where the abortion debate stands now.
Former president Donald Trump has barely spoken about the issue, telling advisers that he believes it is a difficult one for Republicans and not something he should focus his time on. His campaign did not directly answer whether Trump agreed with the six-week ban in Florida or what policies he would support nationally but instead said Trump believes the issue should be left up to individual states. “States’ rights,” Trump has said privately when advisers have floated the issue, adding his assessment that they should not talk about it.
“President Donald J. Trump believes that the Supreme Court, led by the three Justices which he supported, got it right when they ruled this is an issue that should be decided at the State level,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. “Republicans have been trying to get this done for 50 years, but were unable to do so. President Trump, who is considered the most pro-life President in history, got it done. He will continue these policies when reelected to the White House. Like President Reagan before him, President Trump supports exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”
Asked again directly whether Trump agreed or disagreed with the law DeSantis signed, the campaign did not respond.
While pro-life advocates understand that babies need legal protection whether it comes from the state or federal level, there appears to be a new divide between pro-life candidates who think only states should be involved in protecting babies in abortions and those who think there is a place for Congress to pass laws protecting unborn children. Without Congressional protections, babies in pro-abortion states will never have their lives protected — as Democrats legalize abortions up to birth and make killing babies a state right.
In the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs, Justice Samuel Alito made it clear that both Congress and state legislatures can pass laws protecting babies from abortions.
“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision,” Alito wrote. “On the question of abortion, The Constitution is therefore neither pro-life nor pro-choice. The Constitution is neutral and leaves the issue for their people and the elected representatives to resolve through the democratic process in the States or Congress – like the numerous other difficult questions of American social and economic policy that the Constitution does not address.”
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The SBA Pro-Life group is in the latter category, and told LifeNews today that Trump’s views are “unacceptable.”
While the Trump campaign stated they would leave the abortion issue exclusively to the states to decide, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, responded unequivocally that this position is at odds with the pro-life views that babies deserve legal protection regardless of the state.
“President Trump’s assertion that the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion solely to the states is a completely inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision and is a morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate to hold,” she said.
Dannenfelser continued, “Life is a matter of human rights, not states’ rights. Saying that the issue should only be decided at the states is an endorsement of abortion up until the moment of birth, even brutal late-term abortions in states like California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. The only way to save these children is through federal protections, such as a 15-week federal minimum standard when the unborn child can feel excruciating pain.”
She told LifeNews that Trump’s view could disqualify him from support during the Republican presidential primary.
“We will oppose any presidential candidate who refuses to embrace at a minimum a 15-week national standard to stop painful late-term abortions while allowing states to enact further protections,” she said.
Ultimately, the pro-life leader said the view that only states can ban abortions is a misread of the Dobbs decision, which clearly states that legislative bodies in America — both Congressional and state legislative — have purview over abortion rather than the courts.
“The Supreme Court made clear in its decision that it was returning the issue to the people to decide through their elected representatives in the states and in Congress. Holding to the position that it is exclusively up to the states is an abdication of responsibility by anyone elected to federal office. This holds especially true for the president, more than any other federal official, because he or she has a responsibility to forge national consensus and progress on the most egregious human rights violation of our time,” she concluded.
Time will tell if Trump, and other candidates, come around to the view that everything must be done to provide legal protection for every baby in every state in America.
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