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Trump Rants About Abortion

Susan Estrich on

It was one of those rants that would disqualify a normal candidate. Speaking to Sean Hannity on Wednesday night, Donald Trump took off on abortion, saying things that are flat-out untrue and mouthing opinions entirely out of the mainstream. Most of the media ignored it, Trump being Trump.

"It's a beautiful thing to watch," Trump said of states passing extreme and near total bans on access to abortion. The consequences of those bans -- horrific consequences -- have been documented. A 13-year-old rape victim in Mississippi forced to carry a pregnancy to term because she was denied access to a safe and legal abortion -- what is beautiful about that? A young woman in Texas who almost died because doctors were afraid to treat her -- does Donald Trump find that beautiful? A Florida woman who was turned away from the emergency room and lost roughly half her blood in a single day after experiencing a miscarriage -- beautiful to watch?

Twenty states now have near or total bans on abortion, forcing women to travel out of state to secure needed and necessary medical care. The most vulnerable are the most seriously affected -- teenagers who don't even know that they are pregnant, poor women who lack the resources and connections to find or afford help in distant states. It is dangerous and downright cruel. Trump claims he supports exceptions for rape and incest and the life of the mother, but he finds it a "beautiful thing to watch" states pass laws that include no such exceptions.

And he spouts lies and spreads misinformation about abortion. Trump claimed, as he has repeatedly, that "everyone" has been in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade since the case was first decided in 1973. It is simply not so that legal scholars on all sides were united in criticizing the decision. Indeed, what is noteworthy is that as the years have passed, Roe became more firmly entrenched in the nation's jurisprudence, leading some early critics, such as the late conservative Solicitor General Charles Fried, to reverse his critical position on Roe and support it as firmly established precedent. Trump is right that he is responsible for overturning Roe, because he appointed the three justices who cast the deciding votes to do so. But they turned themselves into pretzels to avoid telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that they planned to do so, mouthing words that they did not believe and did not abide by about respecting precedent. They didn't do that because "everyone" wanted to see Roe overturned -- just the opposite.

Trump lied about Democrats approving abortion in the eighth and ninth months and "even after birth."

 

"Everybody knows that in the eighth month and the ninth month and beyond that -- hard to believe, they have some states passing legislation where you can execute the baby after birth," Trump said. "It's crazy." Another lie. Executing newborn babies is homicide, and no state and no Democrats support legislation to allow it. More than 90% of abortions take place in the first trimester, and the 1% that take place after 21 weeks legally involve women whose lives are in danger or who are carrying much-wanted pregnancies where they receive a fatal fetal diagnosis late in their terms. To suggest otherwise is simply irresponsible.

Trump has been trying to "defang" the abortion issue by his stance that it should be left to the states, and then applauding what the states do, even at the expense of women's lives. It is a purely political move, reflecting no principles at all. The anti-abortion movement, which has lost at the ballot box in Ohio and Kansas, has almost as much reason to turn on Trump, who was pro-choice before he bargained away his soul to the right to win their support in 2016, as the pro-choice movement does. When it comes to abortion, he has no principles at all. And that is so typical that he gets away with it, sloppy rants and all.

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To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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