On September 16th, Republican nominee Donald Trump released a letter in which he pledged to make Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser a prominent force in his proposed pro-life coalition if he is elected. In the letter, Trump slams Hillary Clinton and her support of abortion rights, calling Clinton an “extremist” who aims to strip “unborn persons” of their constitutional rights.
Trump goes on to present an expected itinerary of the steps he'll take in order to win the pro-life vote, including promising to nominate pro-life Supreme Court justices, sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (which bans abortions after 20 weeks), defund Planned Parenthood, and instate the Hyde Amendment (which protects taxpayers from having to fund abortions) as a permanent law.
Trump has made it crystal clear from the start of his campaign that he does not support women’s causes, such as the right to a legal abortion. If elected into office, however, his vendetta against Roe V. Wade has the chance to make an impact on the lives of millions of American women.
Let’s first begin by evaluating his attacks on Hillary Clinton.
First of all, he paints Hillary Clinton as a baby-killer monster without a smidge of sympathy for the lives of unborn children, which couldn’t be further from the truth. While Trump may argue that Hillary Clinton is a heartless extremist whose stance actively infringes upon the religious beliefs of pro-life supporters, advocating for women’s rights to healthcare couldn’t be further from an extreme political viewpoint. "Under Roe v. Wade, women have this right to make this highly personal decision with their family,” Clinton stated during the Democratic primaries back in March.
Clinton has openly expressed that a woman’s choice to have an abortion shouldn't be at the hands of politicians, but be a decision that women and their families have the legal right to act upon. Trump has made it clear that his primary argument against abortion is that unborn fetuses are stripped of their constitutional rights to personhood, yet by default he, therefore, ignores the rights of personhood to female citizens.
Now let’s look a little deeper into his recent alliance with the Susan B. Anthony List. The Susan B. Anthony List is a nonprofit organization that aims to eliminate abortion and some forms of contraceptives (such as copper IUDs and some emergency contraceptives) in the United States by supporting female pro-life politicians.
Dannenfelser, the president of the organization, had originally denounced Trump back in December (before he took on Pence as his running mate), noting that his stance on abortion has been wavering and that his treatment of women is unacceptable. Both of the allegations made by the Susan B. Anthony List are extremely true, in particular, Trump’s back and forth position on abortion.
Back in 2011, long before the world was introduced to Trump the politician, New York magazine published an article that evaluated Trump’s political back and forth between the years 1999 and 2009. According to an interview that Trump gave with Fox News on October 31st of 1999, Trump stated that he was “totally pro-choice” and that he wanted to see the issue of abortion removed from politics altogether, going on to add on December 1st of 1999 that abortion “is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors.” Are you kidding me, Trump?
Now to be fair, Clinton has also been accused of changing her views over time but for Trump to make a complete political 180 is absolutely absurd. How are we to trust a candidate that goes from showing public support of a community that makes up half of America’s population to demanding that their rights to legal healthcare be stripped?
It’s not difficult for many to speculate that Trump’s push to enforce radically conservative beliefs is a tactical campaign to win over POTUS, yet despite the conspiracy theories, he is inching closer and closer to the oval office. And something that many people fail to acknowledge that if elected, his proposals have a much stronger likelihood of taking effect than those of the Obama Administration.
One of the main reasons that we need to fear the possibility of a Trump presidency is that it would mark a party alignment between the three branches of government. If Trump is elected, he will act on his plan to nominate pro-life Supreme Court justices and there will also be numerous Republican congress seats up for re-election. If elected, it will be much easier for Trump to pass his proposals because he will have the party advantage on the legislative side and will have the power to defend his initiatives on the judicial.
Although Trump is largely unpopular with Republicans within the legislative branch, they support the same issues that he does. It is the time that we stop seeing the Trump campaign as a jest and start evaluating the impact that his beliefs may have on women living in this country. We are no longer able to dismiss him as a political candidate and we must come to terms with the fact that proposals such as this letter could ultimately result in the downfall of the women’s health care industry as a whole.
Photographs Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons and The Susan B. Anthony List Website
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