For the longest time, abortion opponents were wary of businessman Donald Trump. They knew he used to profess his opinion that abortion should be legal, that he was still pretty new to the GOP, and they worried that they would not be able to count on him to at the very least appoint the type of Supreme Court justices they need if they ever want to see Roe v. Wade overturned or even potentially bring legal abortion to an end federally.
Every time Trump tried to talk their talk he managed to fail, such as when he failed to completely condemn Planned Parenthood, or when he went to the other extreme and said women who had illegal abortions should be punished for their actions.
However, now that he is officially the only thing standing in the way of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton ending up in the White House, anti-abortion activists have come to terms with him in a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” sort of way. In return for that grudging support, Trump is moving even farther to the extremes on the right to access a legal, safe abortion.
Here are five signs that if Trump is elected, it could end legal abortion for good.
1) He has been endorsed by Operation Rescue leader Troy Newman.
Anyone who follows the news on the head of one of the country’s most effective anti-abortion activist groups knows that Newman has been a staunch and loyal advocate for Texas Senator Ted Cruz for president. But with Cruz out of the running, and no one left to rally to on the right but Trump, Newman has publicly thrown his hat to the GOP nominee.
“After examining Trump’s position on life issues and his assurances that he will appoint conservative, pro-life justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, I am convinced that Trump offers our best hope of pushing back the Culture of Death in America,” Newman announced in a press release. “We know all too well what we will get with Hillary Clinton, and that is more abortion, more tax funding of abortion, and favors for her campaign contributors at Planned Parenthood. A Clinton presidency will result in more dead babies, and this we cannot allow.”
Noting that Trump assured the movement that he would “stand strongly for life,” Newman promises that, ” No other GOP ticket in history has made such commitments to the Pro-Life Movement.”
2) He has brought in the president of the Susan B. Anthony List to advise his campaign.
At the beginning of the GOP primary, Trump was so frightening to the anti-abortion wing of the party that the Susan B. Anthony List – an anti-abortion political action group that originally stated its mission as supporting pro-life women running for office – actually spearheaded an “Anyone But Trump” campaign. They failed in that attempt to get literally any other Republican candidate the party nomination, and now their president herself is joining the Trump team.
“For anti-abortion crusader Marjorie Dannenfelser, Donald Trump has been an acquired taste,” reports Vice News. “The president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion non-profit, Dannenfelser has been vocally opposed to Trump this election, ‘speaking out and urging Republican caucus-goers and voters to support anyone but Donald Trump’ in an open letter posted on her group’s site in January. But that was several months ago, and much has changed: Trump is now the nominee, for one thing. As of Friday, Dannenfelser will now join fellow ex-‘Never Trump’ conservatives in their assimilation, chairing his coalition of ‘pro-life’ leaders.”
3) He has totally reversed himself on Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood has become the GOP boogeyman for all that is wrong in the country when it comes to reproductive rights. They promote age appropriate sex ed, they help people access affordable contraception and preventative sexual health services and treatments for STIs, they offer emergency contraception and in some clinics even early and later abortion care.
Perhaps most damning, they support politicians who do the same. The social conservative wing of the GOP wants them defunded at a minimum and all their clinics closed for good if at all possible.
Yet back in early debates, Trump stated, “As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, I’m pro-life, I’m totally against abortion having to do with Planned Parenthood. But millions and millions of women — cervical cancer, breast cancer — are helped by Planned Parenthood. So you can say whatever you want, but they have millions of women going through Planned Parenthood that are helped greatly.”
Now, in his new letter announcing Dannenfelser’s new appointment, Trump has recommitted himself to the idea of completely defunding the healthcare provider as along as any clinics in their network offers abortion services.
4) He’s even drawing in some pro-life Democrats.
To be fair, Steve Wenzel hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in years, arguing that the party is now so extreme on abortion that he cannot support them. But the Minnesota man and former Democrat turned Independent who took every avenue possible to support any GOP candidate but Donald Trump heading into the GOP convention has now announced he’ll be supporting him financially and otherwise in the general.
“I’m not enthusiastic about Donald Trump but in comparison with Hillary Clinton it’s easy to get enthused, because the alternative is so much worse,” he told a local conservative news site. And he may not be the only pro-life Democrat making that decision.
5) A Trump win would mean a conservative wave, and we saw what happened last time that occurred.
If Trump makes it into the White House, that means that his coat-tails likely dragged a mass of Senators and Representatives (and state legislators, and governors, and so on) into the winner’s column, too. That means, as Rebecca Traister points out, that we will have a conservative wave that makes 2010 look insignificant in comparison. And as we all remember, the Tea Party wave was what threatened to all but overturn Roe in the first place, and still manages to make abortion highly inaccessible for many across the country because of new restrictions and clinic closures.
“If Donald Trump is elected president, it will likely be with a Republican congress and Supreme Court seats to fill. He could do every single one of the things he’s promising anti-abortion activists he will do. And those things would return women, in a very real way — in a way that is already happening in state and local jurisdictions around the country — to their secondary status: unable to exert full control over their bodies; barred from making choices about whether or when to bear children based on their health, their economic, or familial status, or the condition of the fetuses they carry,” Traister writes. “Donald Trump would like to return us to a nation of forced births, with women’s bodies as the vessels.”