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Rendering to Caesar, Rendering to God

Updated: 5 days ago

Trump's deference to states' rights

Former President Trump released a video this week outlining his position on abortion, a huge issue for the ballot come November.

In a 4-minute video posted Monday on Truth Social, he pointed to the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 as his political lodestar. The video has disappointed many conservatives and caused Catholics to grapple with moral truths versus political expediency.

“My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint," the president said, "the states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land. In this case, the law of the state."

“At the end of the day this is all about the will of the people,” the presumptive Republican nominee for president added. “You must follow your heart, or in many cases your religion or your faith.”

Pro-life reactions

Reactions to Trump's statement, especially, among pro-lifers, were critical, even tainted with resignation, but measured in light of the high stakes election in November.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America (SBA), a leading pro-life group, expressed "deep disappointment" over Trump’s position. SBA president Marjorie Dannenfelser, a convert to Catholicism, disagreed with Trump's deference to states' rights.

“Saying the issue is ‘back to the states’ cedes the national debate to the Democrats who are working relentlessly to enact legislation mandating abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy. If successful, they will wipe out states’ rights," she argued.

“Unborn children and their mothers deserve national protections and national advocacy from the brutality of the abortion industry," she asserted.

Despite the disappointment, SBA does not seem to be following through on plans it announced last year to oppose any presidential candidate who “refuses to embrace” a 15-week federal limit.

Dannenfelser also declared, “With lives on the line, SBA Pro-Life America and the pro-life grassroots will work tirelessly to defeat President Biden and extreme congressional Democrats.”

CatholicVote president Brian Burch also weighed in, saying that leaving the issue to states was “not sufficient,” but added that his organization is confident “a Trump administration will be staffed with pro-life personnel committed to pro-life policies.”

"The contrast between Joe Biden and the Democrats and President Trump is unmistakable. Pro-life voters have only one option in November," he concluded.

Other pro-life groups have also re-affirmed their commitment to electing Trump, including Students for Life, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Family Research Council and National Right to Life.

The response of Bp. Joseph Strickland, aka "America's Bishop," stood out from the fray in his unswerving fidelity to Church teaching. Known for his bravery to speak about the existence of moral absolutes and the pre-eminence of the abortion issue, he lamented Trump's position.

"Our nation is in a sad state when we have no presidential candidate willing to stand strong for the sanctity of the life of the unborn. One candidate says murdering the unborn should be a right, the other says just let states decide. Neither is standing for the sanctity of life," the bishop said.

Lila Rose, who has been criticized for making a living off the pro-life movement, likewise issued an unequivocal statement:

"Killing babies is always wrong. President Trump is not a pro-life candidate. He’s far less pro-abortion than Biden, but he supports killing some preborn children and will even make that his position in an attempt to get pro-abortion votes," she posted.

Social media

The political necessity of Trump's measured response to the abortion issue — if he wants to win the election — was a common thread on social media.

"If Trump or any other Republican president managed to pull off a federal abortion ban they would be wise to not announce it on the campaign trail. I don't know what Trump's intentions are, but people giving the guy who got Roe v Wade overturned a hard time over this don't get it," posted one X user.

Author and political commentator Michael Knowles, who is also a Catholic, asked about the electability of any GOP candidate with strong pro-life views:

[H]as there been or could there be today any even remotely electable GOP presidential candidate with a different view? One hopes things improve as the pro-life movement advances, but what better option could there be today?"

Another overlooked Trump's failure to come out hard against abortion by posting:

"No President has done more for the pro-life movement. The only way we win is by gaining power and shifting the conversation back to God's will. We can't do that with a ham-fisted strategy that only loses key elections. Pro-lifers only have one option.

Another contentious issue

Trump also discussed his support of in vitro fertilization (IFV), a practice the Vatican has condemned.

Placing the issue under the umbrella of "the creation of strong, thriving and healthy American families," the 45th president said he supports "the availability of fertility treatments like IVF in every state in America.”

He claimed the "overwhelming majority of Americans, including the vast majority of Republicans, conservatives, Christians and pro-life Americans" support "IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious baby."

On the same day Trump released his video, the Vatican issued Dignitas Infinita (Latin for "Infinite Dignity"), a declaration explaining the Church's disapprobation of surrogate pregnancies (among other topics). The document agues that IVF objectifies a baby and states:

"First and foremost, the practice of surrogacy violates the dignity of the child. Indeed, every child possesses an intangible dignity that is clearly expressed ... at every stage of his or her life: from the moment of conception, at birth, growing up as a boy or girl, and becoming an adult."

"Because of this unalienable dignity, the child has the right to have a fully human (and not artificially induced) origin and to receive the gift of a life that manifests both the dignity of the giver and that of the receiver." 


One person grappling with the moral and political implications of Trump's position noted to this reporter that Trump's statement "although a campaign pitch," is, after all, a call to the people to do what's "right."

"Do what’s right for your family and do what’s right for yourself, do what’s right for your children, do what’s right for our country, and vote. So important to vote,” Trump ended the pronouncement.

This person also asked — his conscience obviously trying to reconcile a tangle of moral and political issues, "Is Trump trying to be elected pope or is he trying to win the US presidency?"

Dr. Barbara Toth has a doctorate in rhetoric and composition from Bowling Green State University. She has taught at universities in the US, China and Saudi Arabia. Her work in setting up a writing center at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahmen University, an all-women's university in Riyadh, has been cited in American journals. Toth has published academic and non-academic articles and poems internationally.

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718 views3 comments

댓글 3개

The American Solidarity Party is the only truly pro-life party left.

The Democratic Party has engaged in a full-frontal assault on the sanctity of life, and what does the Republican Party do? They betray the cause, running from the battlefield under the cowardly cry of "States' rights." The cry of "States rights" has a tainted past as well as a dubious outcome.

Real pro-lifers stand up and try to get voters to vote for the right to life. Cowards hide behind the fact that we don't have the votes yet. If you don't have to vote yet, real leaders get them.

Donald Trump was never pro-life. He pretended to be pro-life long enough to get the nomination. And, now that…


4월 10일

Trump is clearly playing it safe on this one to avoid losing that conservative yet "it's not my place to decide for others" vote. He has really upset millions of truly pro-life voters. Hopefully it won't be to the point of them just not voting at all. He is still be best bet with have for this country right now. Holding my nose to vote for sure, I am very disappointed in him for this.

Mary Bryant
Mary Bryant
4월 11일
답글 상대:

Lizaanne, you said it best! I'm a pro-lifer and his remark upset me as well, but I do understand why he said this.

I will vote for him and pray that he changes his mind. At this point, Mr. Trump is the best we have to lead the United States.

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