Catholic World Report

Trump and pro-life leaders meet after controversy over his abortion stance

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump disembarks his plane “Trump Force One” at Aberdeen Airport on May 1, 2023, in Aberdeen, Scotland. | Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Key pro-life leaders emerged from a meeting with former president Donald Trump praising him for his anti-abortion stance weeks after he was sharply criticized for saying that abortion should be decided at the state level.

At Monday’s meeting with Trump were Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (SBA) president Marjorie Dannenfelser, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, and South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham.

Trump on April 20 sparked outrage from key pro-life leaders including Dannenfelser and Live Action president Lila Rose, when his campaign spokesman said abortion should be settled by the states.

Dannenfelser released a statement Monday night calling the meeting “terrific” and praising Trump’s pro-life record, saying “his presidency was the most consequential in American history for the pro-life cause.”

The pro-life leaders spoke highly of Trump’s position against policies such as those in effect in California and New York in which taxpayer funding for abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy.

“During the meeting, President Trump reiterated his opposition to the extreme Democratic position of abortion on demand, up until the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayers — and even in some cases after the child is born,” Dannenfelser said. “President Trump believes such a position is unworthy of a great nation and believes the American people will rebel against such a radical position that aligns us with China and North Korea.”

Dannenfelser said Trump “knows the vast majority of Americans oppose brutal late-term abortions when the child can feel pain and suck their thumbs.” She added that “Trump reiterated that any federal legislation protecting these children would need to include the exceptions for life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest.”

Trump is the GOP’s frontrunner for the presidential nomination and the current 2024 presidential frontrunner according to a recent Premise poll.

The dust-up between Trump and pro-life leaders began on April 20, when Trump’s spokesman said, “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.”

In response, Dannenfelser said in an April 20 statement that “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.”

Dannenfelser called Trump’s stance “a morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate to hold,” adding that “life is a matter of human rights, not states’ rights.”

In no uncertain terms, Dannenfelser said that SBA would “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.”

“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,” Dannenfelser continued. “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.”

Graham, who has introduced legislation to ban abortion nationally after 15 weeks of pregnancy, did not share any details of the meeting, only saying it was “great” and that he is looking “forward to working with them to protect the unborn.”

Though Trump has been widely hailed as one the most pro-life presidents in history and his three Supreme Court nominees were instrumental in overturning Roe v. Wade, his position on abortion has morphed throughout the years.

Recently, Trump has seemed to take a more ambivalent stance on abortion, insinuating that hardline pro-life stances are bad for votes.

After the GOP’s disappointing performance in the 2022 midterm elections, Trump said that “it was the abortion issue, poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on no exceptions, even in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother, that lost large numbers of voters.”

Dannenfelser did not share whether Trump has changed his mind on a 15-week abortion ban or if SBA would be endorsing his candidacy.

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  1. Tears in Heaven

    A day in May, Mother’s Day,
    America needs to pray.
    Without the words to make things right,
    Turn to Jesus day and night.
    Blood on the floor of the throne of grace,
    Need to repent of our national disgrace.
    Washington to Sacramento,
    Millions of coffins in a row.
    Aborted children, East to West,
    May have killed America’s best.
    The sky is crying,
    The little ones are dying.
    A mother’s womb,
    Becomes a tomb.
    Is there grace enough this day,
    To turn December into May?
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    All because of baby blue.
    On God our prayers are pinned,
    The answer blowin’ in the wind.
    He does bend down and He hears
    A day in May, heavenly tears.

  2. A Mother’s Day Prayer
    I pray for mothers whose kids drive them wild,
    For every mother of a preborn child.
    I pray for mothers who cannot be,
    For them to cling to Jesus, His Blood, and the tree.
    I pray for mothers’ who gave their child away,
    For their suffering day after day.
    For a mother of a child never born,
    And for her heart trampled and torn.
    I pray for her regrets and fears,
    I pray for her tears.
    May every child look their mother in the eye,
    My ultimate prayer, they won’t have to die.
    Hear the whisper, end the strife,
    “Mom, take my hand, not my life.”

  3. Little Lies, Little Eyes

    There’s a whole generation,
    With a new explanation.
    “It’s a choice,
    Not a voice.”
    A little lie,
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    Conveniently forgets there is one other.
    Another lie,
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    “A life it is not”,
    Ignores science and what is taught.
    Another lie, like when pigs fly.
    I pray for truth, let it rise,
    No more tears in little eyes.

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