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Well, Donald Trump just became the first sitting president to address the March for Life via a live video feed. The March for Life is more accurately known as the March to Force Women to Give Birth, as they are actually anti-abortion. Someone who is pro-life would realize that when nations outlaw abortion, women still have abortions, they just do it in unsafe ways that leads to more deaths. The only thing that actually reduces abortion? Increasing access to birth control and sex education, two things “pro-lifers” are decidedly against.
Anyway, on to the big speech, and to the many lies that were told! They started before Trump even took the stage, as he was introduced by Mike Pence, who called Trump “the most pro-life President in American history.” As a reminder, in 2003 Trump told Howard Stern that he wanted Marla Maples to get an abortion but she decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. In 2016, he refused to answer a journalist who asked if he’d ever paid for someone to have an abortion. He refused to answer! This man literally lies about the hair on his own head and even he couldn’t bring himself to just lie and say “no.” He didn’t answer. So clearly “pro-life”!
Trump then took the stage. To start, he said that America has “some of the most permissive abortion laws anywhere in the world. For example in the United States, it’s one of only 7 countries to allow elective late-term abortions, along with China, North Korea, and others.” Surprisingly, this is mostly true — the US has no federal laws prohibiting late-term abortions, though obviously we all know that that’s because it’s left up to the states to decide, and the majority of them have banned abortions after 24 weeks. As for all those other countries where women enjoy relative reproductive freedom, the country may not allow “elective” late-term abortions but they do allow them in the most common cases, as when a woman’s life is at risk. You see, women aren’t having late-term abortions as birth control because they’ve decided that they actually don’t want a kid after carrying one around for half a year. The overwhelming majority of late-term abortions are wanted babies who tragically can’t be brought to term.
Not satisfied to merely say something slightly misleading, Trump goes on to say, “Right now in a number of states the laws allow a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong, it has to change.” That’s what he said, word for word. I listened to it ten times to be sure. Trump said that it’s wrong that a baby is allowed to be born in the ninth month. He’s technically right that babies are allowed to be born in the ninth month. It happens every day. Multiple times a day, in fact, I’d say.
Of course, Trump can only tell the truth if he’s misspeaking. If he actually meant that babies are allowed to be aborted in the ninth month, that would be so wrong that it may be the wrongest thing he’s ever said, which is really saying something. A baby who is “aborted” at nine months is in fact being born. And no, parents and doctors are not allowed to throw away a baby who has been born. Jesus Christ.
Trump then says, “Americans are more and more pro-life, you see that all the time.” In fact, over the past 20 years the number of Americans who call themselves “pro-life” has remained almost perfectly steady, with 40% of people saying they want abortion outlawed.
Next Trump brags about reinstating the “Mexico City Policy.” I talked about this last year when it happened, but just to recap: every Republican president does that as an order of business upon taking office. That policy removes freedom of speech from nonprofit organizations around the world, since in order to get federal US funding they must agree to not even mention abortion, ever. Even in countries where it’s legal. So organizations that provide crucial health services to women cannot discuss legal, safe options with women if they want to keep their funding. It’s pure, ignorant insanity and could lead to tens of thousands of deaths. But hey, Trump got a round of applause from it.
He then gets a round of applause for pushing “religious freedom” policies that allow doctors and other medical professionals to deny basic medical services to women based on their ideology. He brags about the new “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” of the Department of Health and Human Services, created specifically to stop women from getting that healthcare.
Once he was finished listing his anti-choice policies, I realized that Pence was right. Trump could be the most “pro-life” president ever, even though he’s obviously taken advantage of abortion services in the past and prior to being elected expressed pro-choice leanings. But now he does as he’s told, even to the point of telling journalists he supported women being punished for having abortions. He walked that back once he realized he’d gone a little too far too soon, but I’m sure he got a treat after that statement anyway. It may not have been appropriate in 2016, but if his rhetoric continues this way, it’ll just be another normal policy by 2020.