Veteran left-wing journalist Maureen Dowd has a short piece in this weekend’s New York Times on Donald Trump, and boy, is it a doozy. The piece focuses on Trump’s, um, terrifyingly bad image problems with women voters, building up to his outrageous (since rescinded, allegedly) assertion this week that women themselves should be prosecuted for having abortions. The pro-life movement—comprised of many faith-driven and compassionate individuals—has for decades conscientiously sought to portray itself as both pro-unborn child and pro-woman, and, suffice it to say, actual pro-lifers do not subscribe to Trump’s caricatural misstatement:
Reminder: The House passed a 20-week abortion ban bill that explicitly barred prosecuting women getting abortions: pic.twitter.com/KQ1WHBtUMg
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) March 30, 2016
Trump cultists, like Scottie Nell Hughes, have disingenuously tried to shield Trump from pro-life voter wrath by laying the blame with the “confusing” messaging of the pro-life movement itself. Yet the movement’s messaging, at least for those of us not forced to serially apologize for our hedonistic candidate’s lifelong licentiousness, has always been quite clear: in a post-Roe v. Wade and –Planned Parenthood v. Casey world, wherein the states are free to make abortion illegal if they so choose, it would be the abortionist—and NOT the mother—who would be punished.
Trump, of course, has never thought seriously about what pro-life Americans actually think. He barely even holds out his late-life “road to Damascus” conversion to the pro-life cause as being sincere, and his explanation proffered at the cycle’s early debates last fall is somewhere between implausible and comical. This is a man who once bragged to Howard Stern that “avoiding STDs was ‘[his] personal Vietnam.'” As Princeton Professor Robert P. George recently wrote for First Things, then, Trump’s purported pro-life bona fides barely pass the laugh test:
In fact, Mr. Trump seems to have stumbled onto the best possible way of signaling to true pro-lifers that he is not one of them. He has inadvertently embraced an idea that is falsely attributed to pro-life citizens by their opponents to weaken the pro-life cause by tarring pro-lifers as punitive, vindictive people who would send women, many of whom are desperate and frightened, and some of whom are acting under pressure or even coercion in seeking abortions, to prison.
Mr. Trump evidently wants to show us how genuine his conversion is by depicting himself as severely pro-life. But pro-lifers are compassionate, seeking the good of unborn children and their mothers, newer pitting them or their interests against each other. We are interested in saving babies, not punishing mothers. And we know that we don’t need to punish mothers to save babies.
What Mr. Trump has succeeded in showing pro-life Americans is that he is not one of us.
Back to Maureen Dowd’s New York Times piece, then, for a second. Given Trump’s personal history and the sheer unbelievability of his claimed pro-life conversion, Dowd pushes further on whether or not Trump himself has any particularly germane personal history with the subject. Trump’s evasive response is stunning:
Given his draconian comment, sending women back to back alleys, I had to ask: When he was a swinging bachelor in Manhattan, was he ever involved with anyone who had an abortion?
‘Such an interesting question,’ he said. ‘So what’s your next question?’
Your Republican Party presidential frontrunner, ladies and gentlemen. Lord help us.