One of the most illuminating trends in the 2016 election was the coalescing of major anti-choice groups behind Donald Trump, after most had spent the Republican primaries warning that his candidacy would be a disaster for their movement.
The movement’s leadership ultimately calculated that supporting Trump’s candidacy would be the most efficient path to their policy goals—even if that meant alienating a younger, more ideologically diverse group of anti-abortion activists who were appalled by Trump’s temperament and his stances on nearly every other issue.
Now that Trump has won the presidential election, it looks like the movement won its gamble, at least in the short term. In statements sent to supporters since Trump’s victory was called, anti-abortion groups have defended their decisions to back the Republican candidate and expressed hope that he will allow them dramatically roll back abortion rights and contraception access.
Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser, who signed on as Trump’s lead anti-abortion adviser after pillorying him in the primaries, told supporters in an email that her group’s decision to back Trump gave them a president “who we believe will enact the most pro-life legislation since Roe v. Wade was decided”:
They said it couldn’t be done. They said the pro-life position was not a winning political strategy. They had the media on their side. They had Hollywood on their side. They had Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry on their side, pouring in millions upon millions of dollars.
But tonight, YOU proved them all wrong.
We took back the White House. Donald Trump has made four key commitments to the Pro-Life Movement, and it falls to us to help him fulfill his promises and secure historic victories for the cause of LIFE.
Our decision to back Trump in the general election has enabled us to elect a pro-life candidate who we believe will enact the most pro-life legislation since Roe v. Wade was decided.
Clarke Forsythe, the acting director of Americans United For Life, took a more measured tone, writing, “We did not all vote for the same person, but we can now work together to make a difference on the issues that concern the millions of pro-life Americans.” However, he rejoiced that “Trump’s victory means that the Garland Supreme Court nomination is dead and there is the opportunity that the Scalia vacancy will be filled by a like-minded judge,” and urged activists to press hard on Supreme Court nominations, make the Hyde Amendment permanent and continue to push for state-level laws regulating abortion providers. He added:
Together, we need to repeal and replace Obamacare as it collapses, a landmark anti-life bill that mislabels life-ending drugs as “contraception” and then forces the American people to subsidize them, that weakens the First Amendment Rights of Conscience for those who do not want to participate in the Abortion Industry’s deadly agenda.
The extreme anti-abortion group Operation Rescue also began its statement by justifying its support for Trump, crowing that the “roadblocks” that “have thwarted pro-life legislation have now been removed”:
Operation Rescue favored the Trump/Pence ticket because of detailed promises to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, defund Planned Parenthood, ban abortions after 20 weeks, and permanently encode the Hyde Amendment to block the use of tax money to pay for abortions.
With Republicans also maintaining control of the House and Senate, roadblocks to thrown up by the pro-abortion Obama Administration over the past eight years that have thwarted pro-life legislation have now been removed.
Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, characteristically also had some words for his critics:
Our nation will now embark on a path to eliminate abortion and to foster the freedom of the Church. We will be able to advance such an agenda because of the pro-life majorities that now exist both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.
In particular, this election victory means the end of the HHS mandate, against which Priests for Life was one of the first groups to launch a challenge in federal court. That challenge, joined by various dioceses and other groups, has gone all the way to the Supreme Court, and is still unresolved. Now, however, we see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
We have no dispute with anyone who wants to end abortion, but only with those – such as the majority of Democratic politicians – who want to hide it and allow it to continue. For many years, and right up to this Election Day, many of the attacks launched against me and my organization have been motivated by partisan politics, and in particular by Democratic supporters who know the damage our work does to their abortion agenda. We are proud to endure those attacks and, as has happened in this election, we will continue to be victorious.
Lila Rose of Live Action declared that “Planned Parenthood was defeated last night”:
Planned Parenthood was defeated last night. The American people have spoken, and the abortion corporation’s unprecedented $30 million campaign to elect a pro-abortion president and Congress lost at the polls.
When the abortion lobby pushed for unregulated abortions through all nine months of pregnancy and forcing taxpayers to pay for them, TOGETHER, WE PUSHED BACK.
And now, because of the pro-life pledges President-elect Donald Trump made during the campaign, we have an opportunity to significantly move the pro-life agenda forward.
But it’s critical that we act immediately to hold Mr. Trump to those pledges and that we convince Congress to go along with them. You know that all too often, politicians get elected and many of their promises get put on the back burner.
One of the most gloating statements, surprisingly, came from Catholic Vote, a group that had distanced itself from Trump after the release of a tape of him boasting about sexually assaulting women. In an email with the subject line “a victory for life,” Catholic Vote’s Brian Burch wrote that “Justice Scalia must me smiling from Heaven” and declared the night’s “biggest losers” to be “ISIS, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Emily’s List, Hollywood, Jennifer Palmieri, John Podesta, [and] secular elites”:
While two races remain undecided, Republicans retain control of the United States Senate – with the likelihood of holding a 53-47 majority. This is a huge win for life — and the votes we need to repeal Obamacare and defund Planned Parenthood.
Justice Scalia must be smiling from Heaven. The opportunity to replace his vacancy on the Supreme Court, and possibly others, with judges who respect the Constitution is real. Furthermore, a large number of lower court judicial appointments will be made by Trump/Pence. This is huge.
James Carville said it best last night: “Obamacare is done.” And so is the HHS Mandate. Praise God!
Biggest losers of the night (apart from Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine): ISIS, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Emily’s List, Hollywood, Jennifer Palmieri, John Podesta, secular elites…
Ignore the elite media narrative. The Republican Party has become the party of the working class. Notably, the same Rust Belt voters that backed Trump last night voted for Obama in ‘08 and ‘12. Were these voters racist when they voted for Obama?Nonsense. American workers, especially the white working class, have abandoned the Democratic Party. The GOP must now deliver on their promises. Republicans must create the conditions for an economic rebirth along with a vision for cultural renewal that heals.