Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's pro-life stance is being called into question after he said he would "absolutely" change the Republican Party's platform on abortion to include the exceptions of rape, incest and to save the mother's life.
Trump was on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday and was asked if he would make any changes to the GOP's platform on abortion, as the current party platform is silent when it comes to exceptions
"Yes, I would. Absolutely, for the three exceptions, I would," the billionaire real estate Mogul responded.
He was then pressed on whether he would make the exception for the "health" of the mother.
"I would leave it for the life of the mother, but I would absolutely have the three exceptions," he stated.
The Republican Party platform reads, in part, "Faithful to the "self-evident" truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed."
As Trump has maintained throughout the election that he is pro-life despite comments in his past that suggest otherwise, conservative and pro-life leaders have been weary of Trump's newfound pro-life stance.
Lila Rose, the president of the pro-life group Live Action, issued a statement shared with The Christian Post in response to Trump's "Today" show remarks. She asserts that one cannot be pro-life if the believe that a child is less "worthy" of legal protection if conceived in rape or incest.
"If you are pro-life, you can't say certain lives are less worthy or don't deserve protection because of how they are conceived," Rose argued. "To say children conceived in rape are somehow less human and shouldn't be allowed to live is a grave injustice. Survivors of rape and incest and their children must be shown compassion and be supported by their communities. While some mothers choose to keep their children, adoption is the option for those who don't."
Tom McClusky of March for Life Action said in a statement that Trump's suggestion would be disastrous for the pro-life movement because the party platform "sets the standard that all candidates need to work from, and the suggestion that the platform should weaken its position on the pro-life issue would set back years of hard work in the pro-life movement."
Causing even more concern for pro-life leaders is the fact that Trump has in the past praised Planned Parenthood as doing "excellent work," but has also claimed that he would strip the abortion giant of its taxpayer funding.
As the next president could be responsible for selecting the next few Supreme Court justices, concern has been raised about whether or not Trump would pick a pro-life justices. But in March, Trump said that he would delegate his nomination list to the conservative group Heritage Foundation.
Although Trump claims to be pro-life, the Associated Press reports that Trump's primary election strategist Paul Manafort told Republican National Committee members in a private meeting Thursday that voters will see a "real different guy" after Trump wins the Republican nomination.
"He gets it," Manafort explained of Trump. "The part that he's been playing is evolving into the part that now you've been expecting, but he wasn't ready for, because he had first to complete the first phase. The negatives will come down. The image is going to change."
"When he's out on the stage, when he's talking about the kinds of things he's talking about on the stump, he's projecting an image that's for that purpose," Manafort added.
Trump's campaign rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told conservative radio host Mark Levin that Manafort's comment proves that Trump's rhetoric in the primary election is just "an act."
"I think it is actually not complicated. Donald is a New York liberal who is pretending to be a conservative to try to fool Republican primary voters," Cruz said. "The amazing thing, Mark, all of us are frustrated with politicians lying to us but I am actually going to give Trump a little bit of credit here. He is being candid. He is telling us that he is lying to us."
"You look at what his campaign manager says, that this is just an act. This is just a show," Cruz continued. "When Donald talks about building a wall, when Donald talks about enforcing immigration laws, when Donald talks about I guess anything. It's all an act and a show."
If he were to become the Republican Party presidential nominee, Trump would not have the authority to unilaterally change the party platform. Changes would have to be approved by the convention delegates.