Donald Trump said today that women getting abortions should be punished, but then walked that statement back after outcry. Recall that until very recently, Trump was so pro-death that he even defended late-term partial birth abortions.
Trump’s statements on abortion are a good illustration as to why it is important not to allow frauds to become your spokesmen. Few if anyone in the pro-life movement have ever pushed for women to be punished, and when abortion was illegal it was almost unheard of for women to face any legal consequences for having an abortion. Rather, back alley abortion providers received jail time, and doctors could lose their medical licenses when caught providing late term abortions, though in practice many got away with early term abortions because of a reluctance on the part of the government to interfere with medical treatment. Turning back the clock to prior to 1972 is all the pro-life movement has ever asked for.
On the other hand, the baby-killing industry and the left has constantly made the claim that if abortion was made illegal, women will be punished–this is in fact one of their main talking points. Thus, Trump adopted a liberal caricature of what pro-life supporters believe rather than a mainstream pro-life position.
How does this in any way help the pro-life cause?
One uncomfortable truth is that in his run for the presidency Trump has a tendency to harm whatever cause he pretends to support by adopting the most extreme caricature of that cause. The best example of this are his positions on immigration. As little as two years ago, Trump was in favor of open borders and amnesty. However, after deciding to run for president as a conservative, he adopted the liberal caricature of what mainstream immigration hawks believe and then began to pander to the alt-right with extreme nativist rhetoric and racist dog whistles. While this has built him a hardcore following of about 35% of people claiming to be Republican, it has also alienated just about everyone else in the US and pushed quite a few people into adopting extreme leftist positions on immigration. One has only to look at the planks of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to see that barring a veto-proof majority for the GOP in the House and Senate there will be no immigration bill within our lifetime thanks to Trump. Further, it is impossible to see the GOP ever having that veto-proof majority in the foreseeable future, again thanks to Trump. Thus, Trump has done more harm to the cause of securing US borders than any person in politics today.
Now Trump is trying to do to the pro-life cause what he did to immigration. One can only hope that social conservatives and Christians will have more sense than to follow after this charlatan and allow him to become a spokesman for the pro-life cause.
It is relatively unimportant at this point what Trump’s motivations really are. However, if he were a leftists seeking to destroy conservatism, he could not do a better job.