Why Trump’s Abortion Statement Is Hardly the Worst Thing He’s Done

Written by Steve Pauwels on April 20, 2016

For several weeks now, including set-backs to his presidential quest from the Colorado and Wyoming caucuses, Donald Trump’s campaign, finally, has been reeling – obviously not finished, but in serious damage-control mode. (Plainly, his New York primary blowout has provided a much-needed shot in the arm).

The sixty-nine-year-old Republican presidential candidate has ventilated so many scandalous statements, done so many provocative things in the past nine months — okay, the past several decades — keeping a tally can be daunting, to put it mildly. Notwithstanding them all, his White House bid has moved forward, relatively unscathed — until late March and the backdraft of his controversial commentary on what ought to happen to women who procure an abortion. “[T]here has to be some form of punishment [for the woman],” he reluctantly avowed to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Curiously, that assertion is hardly the worst thing that’s come out of Trump’s bellowing rant-hole — but it’s poked a political nerve that threatens to hobble what seemed to be his previously un-hobble-able national momentum.

For honest observers, Trump’s bombshell reinforces: there’s something yucky about killing one’s in-utero offspring; yucky enough to deserve some manner of legal sanction, mild or otherwise. (Contrary to the much bandied press accounts, he didn’t call for jail-time; just, vaguely, “some form of punishment”. Technically, Trump’s admission could cover the gamut from a fine to lock up.) In any case, for modern-day acolytes of abortion’s Molech-worshipping death cult, it’s increasingly unacceptable to even hint a woman’s violent extirpation of her pregnancy is anything less than fabulous. Hence, the growing trend in certain sectors of feminism to not only insist on permitting abortion, but to theatrically celebrate it.

Even many of the die-hardiest of the Trump die-hards flinched at this one. And, incongruously, it wasn’t just the pro-aborts who suffered dyspepsia over his response, but lots of anti-abortion spokespersons let the New York City billionaire have it, as well. Their conventional view, constantly parroted lately, is that when an abortion procedure is performed, the mother-no-more becomes as much a “victim” as the dead child. Candidly, I’m not quite sure how rock-solid that reasoning is, either logically or morally. But apparently it’s been the pro-life community’s stance for ages — and they’re sticking with it; particularly on the heels of this most recent Trump flap. “This just proves he hasn’t spent much time thinking about this important, conservative issue,” many of my fellow pro-lifers have insisted again and again.

Still, if The Donald’s tactically ill-considered declaration can be blamed on an excess of baby-saving exuberance, I can hardly jump on him too ferociously over it. That aside, I’m not at all convinced that was his motivation, especially considering the way his people, and Donald himself, have been spinning, backtracking and dodging the issue ever since. “I’d rather not comment on it,” he admitted to John Dickerson on CBS’s Face the Nation, in one of an evolving succession of “clarifications”. But comment he did, anyway: “At this moment the [abortion] laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way”; followed by a reaffirmation, pried grudgingly out of him, that he does believe the procedure ends in a baby’s “murder”.

Not exactly stalwart, sanctity-of-life zealotry showcased in that muddle, is it?

Was it pandering to “the Evangelicals” which prompted Trump’s original, controversial acknowledgment? Was he simply enunciating what he assumed old-school Roman Catholics wanted to hear? Or, again, was the formerly “pro-choice” Manhattan mogul honestly exhibiting the zeal of the new convert in calling for sanctions against women who settle on the feticidal option?

Whatever the explanation, suggesting some kind of legal repercussions — Trump refused to outline specifics — against women who arrange the termination of their innocent, pre-born offspring? In my book, not the most egregious utterance Trump could have made; or that, in fact, he has made.

Possible claimants to that distinction? Recall: his maligning the war-hero status of John McCain (and by extension all POWs): “I like people that weren’t captured”; his grotesque ridiculing of Ben Carson’s Christian testimony (calling him “pathological”, comparing him to a “pedophile”) and implying the “people of Iowa” and “of the country” are “stupid … to believe [Carson’s] crap”; profanely berating a sound technician — in front of millions (“Whoever the hell brought this mic system, don’t pay the son of the b**ch … you shouldn’t pay the b*st*rd. “); his reptilian slurring of President George W. Bush, claiming he lied America into the Iraq War.

Oh, there’s more! Egging-on physical violence against anti-Trump forces (“Maybe [one of them] should have been roughed up”; “I’d like to punch him in the face,” etc.); his puerile digs at others’ appearance (Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Heidi Cruz); the compulsive public cursing and reflexive name-calling (“loser”, “bimbo”, etc.); the Hillary-level lying and duplicity about … well, nearly everything.

Donald J Trump has generated ample reasons — redundant ones — for rejecting him as GOP standard-bearer, not to mention POTUS. As a settled #NeverTrump voter, however, I’ll admit: when it comes to reasons I’ll never pull the lever for the reality-TV-star bloviator, his (briefly entertained) endorsement of slapping the wrist of someone who is complicit in the extermination of her unborn son or daughter would fall somewhere at the very bottom of an otherwise undisputedly fetid list.

Image: Courtesy of Gage Skidmore @ Donald Trump via photopin (license)

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Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.