Trump Administration Determined to Protect the Unborn

pro life

pro life

Marissa Huberty

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Earlier this month, President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared that “human life begins at conception” and vowed to protect citizens “from conception to natural death.” HHS Secretary Tom Price drafted the pro-life plan in September 2017, although he resigned later that month. The proposed plan, which states that it will protect Americans “at every stage of life,” marks a stark contrast to the ideals of the Obama administration. Under Obama’s HHS, the “staunchly pro-choice” Secretary Kathleen Sebelius advocated for abortion coverage. Price’s revolutionary plan sets goals beginning in 2018.

Both pro-life and pro-choice advocates have already stepped forward to celebrate and condemn the plan. Clarke Forsythe of Americans United for Life (AUL) pointed out that Price’s plan “accurately reflects current state law,” while the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) has called the proposal an “extremist anti-choice policy.” During Obama’s presidency, pro-lifers expressed outrage over federal mandates that required some employers to provide healthcare covering birth control and/or abortions to employees against their religious conscience. In Trump, perhaps the pro-life movement has a new champion.

It’ll be easier to see the impacts of Price’s plan once we reach 2018. For now, it’s important to note that – from a pro-life perspective – the plan still has its pros and cons. On one hand, pro-life Republicans can rejoice that Trump has made good on his pre-election promise to stop abortions. Furthermore, as Clarke Forsythe mentioned, most U.S. states have legal codes that grant legal status to unborn children. In many states, including Minnesota, assault on a pregnant woman that results in injury to her unborn baby garners extended charges and punishment, including fines or additional jail time. If fetal homicide, or “feticide,” is recognized as a legitimate crime in numerous states, thus giving fetuses legal status and protection under the law, then it is hypocritical to allow women to terminate the lives of the unborn. Lawmakers should not be able to pick and choose when a fetus is a human being deserving of legal status, and when it is not.

On the other hand, it is easy to see why pro-choice individuals are concerned. The 1973 decision supporting a woman’s right to have an abortion has not been overturned. The new HHS proposal could be viewed as a means of creating a loophole and working around Roe v. Wade. Until that court decision is overturned – if it ever is – it is important that lawmakers uphold and protect a woman’s right to choose. The pro-life movement would love to see a reversal of the Roe v. Wade decision, but until that unforeseeable point, the current law must be maintained. Perhaps the Trump administration knows that a direct ban on abortion would be nearly impossible to secure, and so they have looked for other avenues to decrease access to abortions, starting with this new HHS proposal.

Ultimately, this new proposal by the Trump administration will serve the same purpose that all of the President’s other words and actions have served thus far: deepening the division between the left and right. All of Trump’s decisions and statements, whether made formally through legislation or informally via his notorious Twitter account, have caused leftists’ disdain to grow exponentially. The pro-life movement has stood firm in their opposition to abortion since Roe v. Wade, and this newest victory will only strengthen their resolve. With the decision from that court case still intact, it’ll be interesting to see how much of a dent Price’s proposal can put in the abortion rates, but we will have a clearer picture in four years.