The pro-life issues facing President Trump

Many social conservatives were ecstatic at the election of Donald Trump, but whether they’ll still be ecstatic a few months down the line remains to be seen

Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Wilmington, Ohio, Nov. 4. Trump won the presidency in the Nov. 8 elections. (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters) 

The following comes from a December 27 Angelus article by Russell Shaw:

Many social conservatives, though by no means all, were ecstatic at the election of Donald Trump. Whether they’ll still be ecstatic a few months down the line cannot be predicted—and by no means is this uncertainty entirely of Trump’s making.

Start with the Supreme Court.

During the campaign, Trump, who in the past had declared himself pro-choice, said he was now prolife and would name prolife Supreme Court justices. Underlining his commitment, he released the names of conservative jurists from among whom he said he’d make his picks. Social conservative ecstasy thereupon set in.

After he’s sworn in as president, one of the first items on Trump’s agenda will be naming someone to fill the Supreme Court seat vacant since conservative Justice Antonin Scalia’s death last February. Senate Republicans refused even to hold hearings on President Obama’s pick—federal judge Merrick Garland, usually described as a moderate liberal—and Garland’s nomination became a dead letter with the election of Trump.

The obvious question now is whether Senate Democrats, stung by the handling of the Garland nomination, will permit Trump’s nominee to be confirmed or whether they will play tit for tat by blocking him or her. Lacking control of the Senate, Democrats can’t prevent hearings and a committee vote, but they have the muscle to keep the full Senate from confirming Trump’s pick—or, perhaps, just his first choice, in order to make a point.

Will they do that? Wait and see.

However the impending struggle over confirmation turns out, it’s important to realize that, contrary to what’s often said, simply filling Justice Scalia’s seat with another conservative won’t produce a conservative Supreme Court majority on abortion and same-sex marriage.

Why? Because on these issues Justice Anthony Kennedy, customarily described as a conservative, usually votes with the court’s four liberals (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan), thus creating a five-member majority. Adding a social issues conservative to succeed Scalia will increase the social issues minority to four (Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and whoever), but that’s all. On these issues, Trump can’t shift the ideological makeup of the court unless and until he has a shot at naming a replacement for Kennedy or one of the liberals.

The Supreme Court isn’t the only place where Trump’s ability to deliver on his promises to social conservatives will be tested. Pending in Congress are several matters of great importance to them.

Hillary Clinton’s defeat means the Hyde Amendment barring federal funding of Medicaid abortions—a provision whose repeal Clinton promised to seek—is safe, as is its foreign aid counterpart, the Helms Amendment.

Beyond that, though, it’s by no means certain that prolifers have the votes to achieve their cherished goal of defunding Planned Parenthood. Trump has spoken well of Planned Parenthood in general, although agreeing it should not get taxpayers’ money for abortion.

There are similar uncertainties about the chances of pending legislation to bar abortions of “pain-capable” fetuses and to shield people with conscientious objections to same-sex marriage from being forced to cooperate with it. But under Trump the infamous HHS Mandate requiring church-related institutions and groups to pay for contraception and abortion in employee health plans seems certain to go.

In short, Clinton’s loss saves social conservatives from serious damage to their causes while Trump’s victory opens up the possibility of important progress on several fronts—along with new obstacles of course. A lot depends on how hard and skillfully Trump presses to realize the hopes of people whose votes did much to make him president.

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  1. In addition to Scalia´s seat, there are 100 Federal Judgeships that Mitch McConnell prevented BHO from filling. These only need 51 votes. There are also 50 US Attorneys one for each state that BJ Clinton replaced in one fell swoop and so should our Donald.

    We will win so much we could one day get tired of winning but our Donald will still forge ahead.

  2. Well, let’s see if he follows through on his promises before we start singing praises for Trump. I was a campaign volunteer for Reagan in 1980 and 84 and was very disappointed in his lack of attention and action for the pro-life cause.

  3. Michael McDermott says:

    Unfortunately the Legal ‘Profession’ remains both highly biased in favor of radical leftist / gender feminist / homosex activism, and Law Schools try to prevent acceptance or graduation of students who admire Justice Scalia and his keen insights.

    Also – State Bar Associations (*Like the CA Bar) are pushing new ‘Rules of Professional Responsibility’ so draconian in their Thought Police Agenda – that is is probably that were he starting out – Justice Scalia would be denied a license to practice for failing to pander.

    The Gaystapo is probably the most powerful lobby in the Law and Legal ‘education’ / Indoctrination, and controls Academentia and law schools on the GIGO model: garbage in = garbage out.

  4. As one who has come recently to the pro-life side, pray that President Elect Trump will have the wisdom to appoint those who are truly on the side of life. We can expect to disappointed here and there, but imagine the appointments of abortion fanatics under a Hillary administration.

  5. We need to pray for President-elect Trump, his Administration, and all the members in the Senate, House, and Supreme Court for God to open their eyes and their hearts to see God’s way, the errors of their own, and fear God if they do not follow Him.

  6. Michael McDermott says:

    Unconscionable: Threats to Religious Freedom and Rights of Conscience in the Abortion Debate
    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/12/18256/

    Waging war against those who cannot in good conscience help perform or facilitate abortions does little to improve access for women seeking abortions, damages the integrity of those who object, and harms civil society –
    From Culture Wars to Conscience Wars

    In a June 21 letter, the Obama administration stated that it would not act against a California policy requiring all health insurance plans in that state to cover elective abortions. The Weldon Amendment prevents federal agencies and state and local governments receiving funds from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from…

  7. Michael McDermott says:

    Unconscionable: Threats to Religious Freedom and Rights of Conscience in the Abortion Debate
    Dec 12, 2016 07:00 am http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/12/18256/

    Then, on July 13, the US House of Representatives passed the Conscience Protection Act.

    The legislation, which has passed both houses of Congress, would prevent government from discriminating against healthcare providers who object to participating in the practice of abortion.
    The new president should sign this law and should reverse the Obama administration’s decision not to enforce the Weldon Amendment in the case of California’s discriminatory healthcare policy.

    These events highlight continuing developments in the abortion debate. Our society continues to debate…

  8. Even Shaw’s reservations are a bit optimistic.

    He identifies Garland as a moderate liberal, though he has his own Discoverthenetworks page; Roberts as a conservative, yet he was the deciding vote for ObamaCare; and Kennedy as a conservative too, which, well, say no more.

    Vetting conservatives is like ordering steak in a restaurant: You want Rare? Request Medium Rare. Prefer Medium Well? Order Well Done, etc., ad yumminum.

    With liberals, vet in reverse: Order Rare, you get Medium, and so forth–they’re always overkooked. In fact, order Rare, Medium, or Well Done and you’ll likely get Burnt.

  9. Michael McDermott says:

    “-order Rare, Medium, or Well Done and you’ll likely get Burnt”

    Ahhh Yes – the tradition of making burnt political offerings has a long and crispy hyrstory, sometimes even well done..
    However – given that Madam Pantsuit was supposed to be tap dancing down Pennsylvania Avenue in two weeks, methinks that the reception is going to be a little chilly.

    There were numerous stories about Sabotage when the Bush team took over from Slick Willie the Greater, but much was put down to scrubbing stains from all the little blue dresses around the place.

    Now – we shall see the full wrath of the Abomination upon the usurper, who so cruelly took away Madam Pantsuit’s big day.

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