January 24, 2020

Donald Trump and the moral decline of the pro-life movement
Donald Trump's decision to become the first president ever to attend the annual March for Life in Washington on Friday is a very big deal for both the Republican Party and the pro-life movement — though not in the way that either of them fully realizes.Trump's embrace of the anti-abortion movement has been driven from the beginning by political expediency. With various factions of the Republican Party establishment opposing him in the 2016 primaries, the Trump campaign made the decision to champion the religious right, including its pro-life activist base, which then reciprocated by turning out to vote. As president, Trump has rewarded this support with White House access and respect for the movement's leadership, as well as record numbers of staunchly conservative judicial appointments that just might lead to decisions upholding restrictions on abortion that render the key abortion rights decisions, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992), effectively null and void.Still, at the symbolic level nothing has come close to matching Trump's announcement on Wednesday that this year he would be attending (and presumably speaking at) the March for Life, the demonstration in the nation's capital that is held annually on or close to the anniversary of the Roe decision and regularly draws tens of thousands of pro-lifers.The significance for the GOP of Trump's scheduled appearance at the rally is a function of what it demonstrates retrospectively about the place of the pro-life movement in the party. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have been personally committed to the anti-abortion cause, and Trump may be entirely driven by concern over his prospects for re-election and his need to keep Republican office-holders firmly in his camp through the Senate impeachment trial. Yet the former presidents kept the movement at arm's length and the latter has unapologetically embraced it. Donald Trump is now poised to be the greatest presidential champion of the pro-life cause in American history.That's a big change for the GOP, which has long tried to have it both ways — doing just enough to win loyal support from grassroots pro-life activists but not so much that it antagonizes pro-choice voters who have been willing to cast ballots for the party despite its nominal support for the anti-abortion cause. Such balancing will now be much more difficult if not impossible with the head of the party so forthrightly embracing the pro-life position.But Trump's unmodulated support of the pro-life cause is a much bigger and more portentous change for the movement itself.Nationwide opposition to abortion began with outspoken Catholic bishops immediately after Roe was handed down and was at first joined by greater numbers of Democrats than Republicans. These activists originally saw themselves as leading a civil rights crusade in favor of defending the most vulnerable members of society (the unborn) against lethal violence. This construal of the cause has animated and sustained it for nearly 50 years, long past the realignment that saw it become a foundational issue for a religious right dominated by evangelical Protestants.All along, critics of the anti-abortion movement have dismissed its moral appeals and deployment of the language of civil rights, calling it window dressing on a cause that is really motivated by hostility to feminism — and above all, by the drive to limit women's autonomy, stymie their career ambitions, and reaffirm the primacy of their social role as mothers.For decades the pro-life movement has fought this characterization. In doing so, it has drawn on the rhetoric of such anti-abortion crusaders as Richard John Neuhaus, who adapted language from his days marching for civil rights with Martin Luther King, and the rationalist and universalistic moral arguments of legal philosopher Robert P. George, who has appealed to the tradition of natural law theorizing in forging his arguments against abortion.The moral message of these men is simple and powerful: The fetus is a member of the human species from the time of conception; all members of the human species, no matter how small, weak, or dependent, possess innate dignity and hence a right to life; all abortion is therefore the taking of an innocent human life and so must be outlawed along with other forms of murder. This was a line of argument about the rights and legal status of the fetus, not one about the proper place of women in American society.But a pro-life movement whose greatest political champion is Donald Trump has no hope for maintaining such a high-minded construal of its motives and priorities. When Trump speaks at the March for Life, the country will see the pro-life cause forthrightly advocated by a serial adulterer who's repeatedly been accused of rape, who cheated on his wife with a porn star shortly after the birth of their son, and who has been caught on tape bragging about his facility at sexual assault. Trump has spent a lifetime using women for his own gratification and then tossing them away like garbage — and he will now be the most powerful and prominent promoter of a movement that would prevent the victims of such treatment from asserting some modicum of control over its consequences on their bodies and future lives.That's a pro-life movement that actively aims not to protect the vulnerable from lethal violence but to severely constrain and restrict women's freedom.The practical consequences for the movement are likely to be bad. While some recent polling indicates a modest rise in the popularity of the pro-life label — showing perhaps that continuing advances in ultrasound technology are increasing moral unease about opting for abortion — other polls show a more dramatic spike in support for upholding Roe and the constitutional right to choose. This is a powerful sign that, as we've also seen with shifts in public opinion in favor of immigration over the past few years of nativist cruelty and xenophobia from the administration, Trump tends to turn people against the very causes he champions.By locking arms with a polarizing, deeply unpopular, and morally repulsive president, the pro-life movement is likely to end up losing at the very moment it feels closest to winning.More stories from theweek.com Trump debuts official Space Force logo — and it's literally a ripoff of Star Trek Despite apparent preference for 'moderate' candidate, Iowans back Sanders in latest poll Trump is winning the impeachment battle — but losing the war
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen react to Dustin Diamond’s cancer diagnosis | Page Six Celebrity News
January 15, 2021
x4Hz209X0eg
Why 'Bling Empire' stars were skeptical to join the Netflix reality series | Page Six Celebrity News
January 15, 2021
3oHt4Cqr1J0
Bella Thorne defends Armie Hammer against allegations | Page Six Celebrity News
January 15, 2021
W0-pu9wJVkE
Gabrielle Union Shares Romantic Video on Dwyane Wade's Birthday
January 17, 2021
WZNY1Oe4CEs
Jennifer Lopez Claps Back at Botox Claims, Denies Cosmetic Surgery
January 17, 2021
upVK1ilAgWs
Phil Spector Dies in Prison at Age 81
January 17, 2021
36NxAZVd5B4
Andrew Zimmern Says Prisoners Need Better Food, Even Capitol Rioters | TMZ
January 16, 2021
sbz0nx1qST0
L.A. County Supervisor Enraged Clinics Throw Unused Vaccines in the Trash | TMZ
January 14, 2021
Upzfh-nEbq0
Drake Returns To Working Out, Looks Great! | TMZ TV
January 14, 2021
JlKeaD2mjoA
Kevin Feige on 'WandaVision' And The Future of The Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney Plus
January 14, 2021
9AzttR4LaWg
'Promising Young Woman' Ending Analyzed By Carey Mulligan And Emerald Fennell
January 14, 2021
Rhj2RmWVup4
Golden Globes 2021: Best Drama Series
January 13, 2021
TrTjbEY6VQU
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
18
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Newcastle United
18
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - AC Milan
17
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Juventus
17
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Manchester United
17
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Sheffield United - Tottenham Hotspur
17
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Crystal Palace
17
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayern Munich - SC Freiburg
17
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Fiorentina
17
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Eintracht Frankfurt - Schalke
17
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Genoa
17
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Parma
17
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Crotone - Benevento
16
Jan
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Mainz
16
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Fulham - Chelsea
15
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Roma
14
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Crystal Palace
13
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Brighton
13
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Fulham
13
Jan
GERMANY: National cup
Holstein Kiel - Bayern Munich
12
Jan
ENGLAND: Premier League
Burnley - Manchester United
12
Jan
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Sevilla
10
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Sassuolo
10
Jan
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Napoli
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.