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Trump’s Abortion Statement

Cal Thomas, Tribune Content Agency on

Donald Trump issued a lengthy statement on abortion this past Monday. It is the latest of several positions he has taken on an issue that continues to be hotly debated. Each statement is supposedly a matter of Trump’s “conviction,” though some have been contradictions of previous statements. These have included his longstanding pro-choice position before he ran for president, to pro-life, and now pro-life with important caveats. Clearly his statement is one that conforms more to polls than principles, which is nothing new.

Trump starts with his support for IVF treatments, a subject raised in the Alabama state legislature, which first passed a law that criminalized the procedure if an embryo is subsequently destroyed, but then quickly reversed itself following an uproar. Trump said he favors IVF treatments for couples who need them.

Trump then takes the argument where it should go when he notes that many Democrats who support abortion, even in some cases late-term abortions, are the true radicals.

Next, Trump takes credit for the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe. Wade, which he should, but then says he favors each state deciding for itself what their laws should be. That should be seen as a starting point, not the end of the debate. A Civil War was fought over whether individual states should decide to embrace slavery or not. Either all life is “endowed by our Creator,” or we are evolutionary accidents who can do what we want to each other.

“This is all about the will of the people,” says Trump. “You must follow your heart, or in many cases your religion or your faith. Do what’s right for your family and do what’s right for yourself.”

With that last line, Trump loses the moral argument about the value of human life. If each pregnant woman gets to decide for herself (and a man has no legal say), then we are back at the pro-choice position.

The abortion pill and telemedicine abortions have changed the debate. Women who want an abortion can now do it at home.

This is an argument that must be won mostly by persuasion. Abortion, like rampant crime and so many other cultural challenges that face us, is not the cause of our decadence, but a reflection of it. Here a definition of decadence can help focus on our deplorable condition as a nation: “moral degeneration or decay.”

 

Look around. See what is happening in big cities, in public schools, at the border, our declining military power and standing in the world, the redefining of what it means to be a man or a woman. America’s decline is noticeable to all with eyes to see and ears to hear. These things cannot be fixed overnight, but incrementally.

Near the end of his statement, Trump says this: “That’s where we are right now. And that’s what we want, the will of the people.”

He’s right in saying that’s where we are right now, but he is wrong when he says it's all about the will of the people. People can be led to do what is right (see the end of slavery and the civil rights movement as only two examples). If one has no right to be born, no other rights matter.

Trump’s statement, while welcome in part, cedes the moral high ground when he says abortion is up to individuals. That puts us back to where we started from, with the 1973 Supreme Court decision.

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Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribpub.com. Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book “A Watchman in the Night: What I've Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America" (HumanixBooks).

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