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100 Days of Unexpected Victories: How Trump's Been a Game Changer for Pro-Life Movement

04-29-2017
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WASHINGTON — For a man who was once pro-choice, Donald Trump has ended up doing more than most presidents for the pro-life cause.

"Compared to past administrations, we're really happy with the way the president has kept his promises," March for Life President Jeanne Mancini declared this week.

As the election neared last year, Trump made a number of promises to the pro-life community.  With many in that community afraid Hillary Clinton would be the best friend the abortion industry ever had in the White House, they came around to supporting the former pro-choice Trump.

In praising him this week, Priests for Life's Father Frank Pavone said, "The first and greatest service, of course, that President Trump gave to the pro-life cause is that he kept Hillary Clinton out of the White House."

But concern about a Clinton win has now turned to an almost giddy joy as Trump in his first weeks as commander in chief has taken a number of actions against abortion.

Game Changers for the Pro-Life Movement

"President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been game changers for the pro-life movement," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who became a top advisor to the Trump campaign on the abortion issue.

She added, "Not only have there been several pro-life victories with the first 100 days of their administration, we are confident that pro-life progress will continue.  This is a new era."

National Right to Life President Carol Tobias stated, "Donald Trump ran as a pro-life candidate and pledged he would have a pro-life administration, and he has made good on his word."

She continued, "We are excited by his pro-life accomplishments in his first 100 days in office."

No U.S. Dollars for Overseas Abortions

Three days after his inauguration, Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which halts U.S. taxpayer dollars funding groups performing or promoting abortion overseas.   

"This is the prohibition on foreign assistance funding for abortion providers," Mancini explained.  "We're happy about that."

"The International Planned Parenthood Federation says it will lose $100 million because of the order," Pavone noted.

Pro-choice groups attacked.  The American Civil Liberties Union labeled it an "assault on women's health," saying it "strips U.S. support from health clinics around the globe."

"Women's health and rights are now one of the first casualties of the Trump administration," Center for Health and Gender Equity President Serra Sippel declared.  "We expect that Trump's global gag rule will cost women their lives."

But pro-life Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., applauded Trump's order, stating, "Taxpayer money should never be used to promote the taking of innocent life."

Unprecedented Presidential Backing for March

Those who organize the annual March for Life, usually held on the Jan. 22 anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade ruling, moved the March to Jan. 27 so it wouldn't clash with the presidential inauguration's weekend festivities.

But within that week, March for Life's Mancini said she saw "unprecedented support" from the White House.

"The president himself and also his press secretary and (top presidential advisor) Kelly Anne Conway asked the media to cover the March, and we received media coverage like we've never received before," she recalled.

The cherry on top came the day of the march.  That's when, according to Mancini, "For the first time ever in the history of the March for Life, we had the sitting vice president come in person to address the marchers. This was unprecedented and a real victory for us."

And it wouldn't be Trump if there wasn't a tweet involved.  He wrote, "The #MarchForLife is so important. To all of you marching – you have my full support!"

Only Pro-Life Justices

One of the major promises candidate Trump made was to only nominate pro-life Supreme Court justices.  On Jan. 31, President Trump put forth the name of Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.

During his sometimes contentious Senate confirmation hearing, Gorsuch could not, of course, openly state he'd rule to overturn Roe vs. Wade if given the chance.  But past rulings saw him side with pro-life plaintiffs.  
 
And in a book he authored on assisted suicide, he wrote, "Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable" and "the intentional taking of a human life by private persons is always wrong."

When the constitutionalist Gorsuch was confirmed, National Right to Life's Tobias said, "This heartens us and alarms those who have relied on activist judges to impose their radical pro-abortion policies."

Defunding a UN Abortion-Backer

On April 4, Trump took another jab at abortion support overseas, cutting off U.S. taxpayer money for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Mancini explained, "The administration made the decision to eliminate funding for UNFPA due to their work with China's One-Child - now its Two-Child policy, which forces and coerces abortion and forces sterilization."

Along with forcing abortion, Chinese authorities sometimes impose heavy fines on those who seek to get around the policy – or they detain them or get them thrown off their jobs.

Trump Undoes Forcing States to Fund Planned Parenthood

On April 13, Trump undid one of Barack Obama's last acts as president by signing into law the Title X Congressional Review Act.

Some states had wanted to take Title X family planning money away from abortion providers and instead give it to health care clinics that don't perform abortions.   

"He (Trump) was essentially undoing something that Obama had done in his last weeks of presidency – not allow states to block Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X funding," Mancini said.

This could be a real blow to America's largest abortion provider since Title X money is its second largest source of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

'Personnel Is Policy'

Pro-life leaders say one of the most important things Trump has done for their cause is to fill his administration with ardent pro-lifers, like Pence and Conway.  Others who can have a major impact on how abortion is treated by the federal government are Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Mancini pointed out that Trump can do so much more on this front with jobs that still need to be filled.

"Right now, we're looking at a 127 federal judicial vacancies and many, many key personnel appointments that are remaining vacant," Mancini said.

There are even rumors circulating in Washington that Trump may get to nominate a second Supreme Court justice as soon as this summer.

Still Ahead

Trump still has unfulfilled promises but now has to wait on Congress to move first.

He's said if Congress will pass it, he'll sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would outlaw most abortions after 20 weeks or when the unborn child can feel pain.

He's ready to sign any moves Congress takes to defund Planned Parenthood through budget bills or changes to Obamacare.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., head of the House Pro-Life Caucus,  told CBN News a top priority is to "defund Planned Parenthood, which has killed over 7 million unborn babies - one organization.  They do over 320,000 or more abortions every single year."

Awaiting action on Capitol Hill is a one-year cutoff of much of that money going to the abortion provider.

"It's not a total moratorium on Planned Parenthood funding," Mancini explained.  "It's actually a re-direction of Medicaid reimbursement, which makes up 80 percent of Planned Parenthood's federal government funding."

'A Great Time for the Right-To-Life Movement'

But SBA List's Dannenfelser is pleased with what Trump's done so far and what she sees coming.

"We have a new pro-life Supreme Court justice, and are closer than ever before to stopping taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, and passing protections for babies born after five months, a point by which research shows unborn children feel pain," she said.

Faith and Freedom Coalition Chairman Ralph Reed stated, "President Trump deserves enormous credit from the faith community for choosing an outstanding justice to sit on the nation's highest court, for choosing the most socially conservative cabinet in history, and for standing up for the rights of the unborn."

National Right to Life's Tobias agreed.

"I have no doubt that President Trump's leadership on behalf of the pro-life cause will continue to not only save lives of the unborn, but help pave the way for generations to come," she said.

Tobias concluded, "This is a great time for the right-to-life movement."

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