Thiessen: Trump is proving to be the most fearlessly pro-life president in history
WASHINGTON – President Trump's critics were apoplectic last week when the president referred to MS-13 gang members as "animals." Of course, no one should be dehumanized. Yet many of the same people expressing outrage that Trump would dehumanize vicious gang members have no problem dehumanizing innocent, unborn children.
Trump has stood up for the humanity of the unborn child like no president in recent memory. And this is why so many Christian conservatives stick with him. Witness the foot-stomping standing ovation the president received Tuesday night at the annual Campaign for Life gala of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List.
Not only was Trump reportedly the first president to address this incredible organization in its 26-year history, he used the occasion to deliver on yet another pro-life promise, one that his Republican predecessors could not, or would not, fulfill: He announced a new rule to stop indirect taxpayer funding of abortion through the Title X family planning program.
"When I ran for office, I pledged to stand for life, and as president, that's exactly what I have done," Trump declared. "Today, we have kept another promise. My administration has proposed a new rule to prohibit Title X funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions."
Any organization receiving Title X funds will be required to establish a bright line of both physical and financial separation between its family planning activities and any program or facility that performs or refers women for abortions. Since 1976, federal law has prohibited use of federal funds for abortion. But today, Planned Parenthood clinics that receive federal family planning funds often essentially refer women for on-site abortions. Under Trump's Protect Life Rule, this will no longer be permitted.
The Protect Life Rule is a victory pro-life Americans have been awaiting for three decades. President Ronald Reagan first issued a version of the rule in 1988, but pro-abortion groups challenged it in court. The George H.W. Bush administration fought them all the way to the Supreme Court and won: In 1991, the court upheld the Reagan rule in Rust v. Sullivan. But the ruling came too late; Bill Clinton soon took office and withdrew the rule.
When George W. Bush was elected, he failed to reinstate the rule during his eight years in office. My former White House colleague Yuval Levin recently wrote that the reinstatement effort "was abandoned in the spring of 2006, in a deputies-level policy gathering that was one of the most contentious meetings I ever witnessed in government."
In the Trump administration, there were apparently no "contentious" meetings or hand-wringing over the impact on Capitol Hill. He just did it. This fearlessness when it comes to the cause of life is what warms the hearts of Christian conservatives and makes them loyal to the president.
The left is, of course, outraged. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called Trump's action "despicable," and the New York Times editorial page complained that the rule "could devastate groups like Planned Parenthood." That is, unfortunately, a gross overstatement, as Planned Parenthood gets three-quarters of its federal funds through Medicaid, which would not be impacted. But it is music to pro-life ears. And despite Democrats' anger, the new rule should have broad public support. A Marist poll released in January found that 60 percent of Americans oppose using tax dollars for abortion, while only 36 percent approve.
Since taking office, Trump has taken many steps to ensure our tax dollars are not used to subsidize the taking of innocent human life. He got a record number of conservative judges confirmed during his first year; allowed states to defund Planned Parenthood; defunded the pro-abortion United Nations Population Fund; restored and expanded the Mexico City policy banning taxpayer funds for groups that perform abortions overseas; and exempted organizations with moral objections against providing abortifacient drugs from the Obamacare Health and Human Services mandate.
He is, as SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser put it Tuesday, "the most pro-life president in our nation's history."
"Every life is sacred, and .?.?. every child is a precious gift from God," Trump declared Tuesday night. "We know that every life has meaning and that every life is totally worth protecting." Trump is doing everything in his power to protect those lives. That is why pro-life conservatives stick with him.