Trump Lauded as ‘Most Pro-Life President in Modern History’

by Stephen Wynne  •  •  November 9, 2017   

President's pro-life victories contrast with ongoing failures in Senate

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WASHINGTON ( - One year into his administration, advocates for the unborn are christening President Trump the "most pro-life president in modern history."

Looking back over the past 12 months, they point to an unyielding pro-life push by the commander-in-chief.

During his campaign, Trump selected strongly pro-life Republicans for his team, including running mate Mike Pence and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, a committed Catholic.

On January 23, just days into his presidency, Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, a measure first instituted by Ronald Reagan which bars U.S. funding of groups that perform or promote abortion overseas.

Days later, the president nominated pro-life Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. After a tough grilling by Democrats, Gorsuch was confirmed on April 7, filling the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Anthony Scalia.

Neil Gorsuch taking the judicial oath of office

On April 13, Trump signed a resolution rescinding Obama's end-of-tenure order forcing states to provide family planning grants under Title X to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

In October, Trump instituted religious and moral exemptions to the Obama contraceptive mandate, which forces most employers to offer free contraception, abortifacients and sterilization procedures through their health insurance plans.

Over the past year, Trump has appointed dedicated pro-life advocates to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including:

  • Roger Severino, former director of the Devos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, as director of HHS's Office for Civil Rights
  • Valerie Huber, a longstanding advocate of value-based sex education, as chief of staff to the assistant secretary for health for HHS
  • Charmaine Yoest, former president of Americans United for Life, as assistant secretary of public affairs for HHS
  • Teresa Manning, former lobbyist for the National Right to Life Committee and legislative analyst for the Family Research Council, as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs.

In early October, HHS manifested its new pro-life culture by recognizing that life begins at conception — a major break with Obama-era policy.

In a draft of its 2018–2022 strategic plan, HHS declared its mission includes promoting programs and initiatives "serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception." The draft also recognized the personhood of the unborn, stating its foremost goal is "to improve healthcare outcomes for all people, including the unborn."

President Trump signs the order reinstating the Mexico City Policy

Conservatives are celebrating the ongoing advance of pro-life initiatives under the Trump administration. At the same time, they note the president has been stymied in completing the pro-life pledges he made during his campaign; the fault, they point out, of Congressional Democrats — who are almost universally pro-abortion — and their allies within the Republican Establishment.

During his 2016 run, Trump committed to make the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding of abortion, permanent.

On January 24, as President Trump was reinstating the Mexico City Policy, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed a permanency measure. It then moved on to the Senate, where it stalled, despite a Republican majority — a repeat of the 2015 Senate failure to render the Hyde Amendment permanent.

Candidate Trump also promised to sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy — the point when an unborn baby fully feels the anguish of saline poisoning or the agony of her arms and legs being torn away with forceps.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

On October 3, the House of Representatives passed the bill. It is now in the hands of the Senate, where its odds of passing are far steeper. To advance to the president's desk for signing, the measure must garner 60 votes. Owing to pro-abortion dissent by Establishment Republicans like Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, this is considered a long shot.

On the campaign trail, Trump announced he would strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding — a top priority for pro-life advocates. On May 4, the House voted to defund Planned Parenthood for one year. But again, under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate Republicans have failed to follow through. As a result, Planned Parenthood — responsible for killing more than 300,000 unborn babies each year — will empty another half billion dollars from the treasury in 2017.

With a year of Trump victories and Senate failures behind them, America's pro-life advocates are looking ahead to the crucial 2018 mid-term elections and the opportunities and challenges they present.

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