Anyone who values reproductive rights for women, take note: Donald Trump on Friday became the first sitting U.S. president to speak at the March for Life, an annual rally held by abortion opponents in the nation’s capital. Trump’s speech, delivered from the White House Rose Garden and shown to the thousands who turned out on the National Mall, comes just days before the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion.
Trump’s appearance wasn’t just meant to be symbolic — his rhetoric was strong. “Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life,” he vowed, while pointing out that his administration is making it easier for states to direct funds away from Planned Parenthood.
Trump, as he often does, played fast and loose with the facts, particularly with his remarks on late-term abortion, which he insisted “is wrong” and “has to change.” According to The Washington Post, Trump grossly overstated the amount of abortions that occur during the ninth month of pregnancy. “Ninth month” abortions, as Trump put it, are effectively banned already because most states bar abortions from being performed after certain points of pregnancy well before the ninth month.
While Trump’s words were tough, assessing how much meaning they actually carry or whether he’s just pandering to his base is another challenge unto itself. As The Washington Post notes, some conservatives are upset that Trump hasn’t done more to crack down on abortion in his first year in office. And it’s always worth considering an old interview in which the Trump of 1999 contradicted the Trump of 2018. During an appearance on Meet The Press, Tim Russert asked Trump about partial birth abortion and Trump replied, saying, “I’m very pro-choice.” He admitted that “I hate the concept of abortion,” but still returned to the idea that “I just believe in choice.”
Donald Trump in 1999: "I'm very pro-choice." pic.twitter.com/M7CaTNt3Qh
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) January 19, 2018
Read the full story at The Washington Post.