Donald Trump Changed to Pro-Life — Might Have Been Politically Motivated

Is Donald Trump pro-life? Though many of his critics believe it to be politically motivated, his presidency reflected a pro-life stance. Let's take a look at his policies.

Kathryn Underwood - Author

May 4 2022, Published 12:44 p.m. ET

Donald Trump
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Former President Donald Trump at an event in 2018.

Following the leaked Supreme Court document indicating the highest U.S. court’s intent to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, individuals on the pro-choice side of the issue are fearful and angry. In particular, people may recall campaign promises of both 2016 and 2020. Is former President Donald Trump pro-life?

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The former president used abortion rights as a cornerstone of his campaign platform, drawing in right-wing voters thrilled at the prospect of new Supreme Court appointments. The plan worked for Trump — he successfully appointed three justices including Amy Coney Barrett at the tail end of his presidential term.

Donald Trump switched from a pro-choice to pro-life stance.

Whether or not Trump truly has a pro-life belief system, his decisions as president clearly reflected a pro-life stance as supported by Roe v. Wade. However, he spent many years publicly supporting a woman’s right to choose.

Article continues below advertisement reported that Trump didn’t go public with his pro-life viewpoint until around 2011. He told the Christian Broadcasting Network, “I’m pro-life, but I changed my view a number of years ago.”

Trump pro life
Source: Getty

Trump speaking at the annual March For Life in 2018.

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Since joining the Republican Party, Trump has made it clear that he supports a ban on most abortions as well as punishment for women who have abortions. He made campaign promises to “defund” Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, though these organizations were already prohibited from using federal funds for abortions.

The definition of "pro-life" may vary since many believe this philosophy shouldn't be limited to abortion and birth. Some voters, like Jennifer Abel, who spoke to USA Today in 2020, felt that Trump didn't match their values, even if they considered themselves to be pro-life.

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Donald Trump stated in his 2016 campaign that he would appoint pro-life judges.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump often iterated a pro-life stance. During an interview with Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes, when asked about Supreme Court appointments, Trump affirmed that he would appoint pro-life justices. He noted that “if it were ever overturned, it would go back to the states,” referring to abortion laws.

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Roe v. Wade was decided by 1973’s Supreme Court Justices with a 7–2 vote in favor of abortion being a constitutionally protected right.

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Trump’s pro-life judge and justice appointments will have lasting effects.

The timing of Trump’s presidency enabled him to have an outsized impact on the future of American reproductive rights. In only one four-year term, he was able to nominate three conservative Supreme Court justices, giving the court a 6–3 conservative majority. This opened the way for the court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Trump and Coney Barrett
Source: Getty

Trump applauds newly-appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October of 2020, his third Supreme Court appointment in four years.

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As presidential historian David Brinkley noted in a 2020 Politico article, “There’s no question that three Supreme Court justices is Donald Trump’s most tangible accomplishment. These are appointments that will change the future of America for decades to come.”

In contrast, President Biden may only make one Supreme Court appointment during his term, that of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

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If Roe v. Wade is overturned, many states will enact near-total abortion bans immediately.

Although it isn't clear who leaked the Supreme Court draft opinion and a decision hasn’t been officially made, pro-choice Americans are worried about a number of states. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, at least 13 states will implement nearly total bans on abortion, a view Trump supported during his term.

Companies that manufacture abortion pills may also face legal troubles, as many abortions occur by taking two pills consecutively.


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