Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has shown signs throughout the campaign that his once pro-choice attitude and close connections with abortion proponents could play a damaging role in the success of the pro-life movement if he is elected president.
A coalition of 10 prominent female pro-life leaders have signed onto a letter encouraging Iowa Caucus goers to vote for "anyone but Donald Trump," citing concerns that if he wins the Republican nomination he would consider picking a pro-choice vice presidential running mate and if elected president, would consider nominating pro-choice justices to the Supreme Court.
Although Trump now claims to be pro-life and is touting the support he is receiving among rank-and-file evangelical churchgoers, he might not realize that some of the things he says during campaign events show social conservative voters that he is not all that serious about protecting the dignity of the unborn, an issue that many conservative evangelicals take seriously.
Earlier this month, Trump participated in a campaign rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, hosted by former pro-choice Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. During the event, Trump asked Brown if he would consider running for public office again, which led to an audience member suggesting that Trump should make Brown his vice presidential running mate.
Although Brown openly supports legalized abortion, Trump did not shoot down the idea of having him as a vice president.
"Vice president — hey, that sounds like it could, hey, hey, very good," Trump responded. "Hey, you know what? And he's central casting. Look at that guy. Central casting."
"He's great. Great guy and a great, beautiful, great wife and family," Trump added. "So important."
Trump, who proclaimed in a 1999 interview with the late Tim Russert that he was "pro-choice" and would not even ban partial-birth abortion, said during an interview in August with Bloomberg Politics that he thought his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a judge who helped strike down a partial-birth abortion ban in New Jersey, would make a "phenomenal" Supreme Court justice.
As the next president could have the opportunity to appoint up to four Supreme Court justices and flip the majority on the bench to overturn cases like Roe v. Wade, Trump added that his sister would make "one of the best" justices.
Although Trump did say in the interview that he would rule out the possibility, for now, of making his sister a justice if elected, possibly because it was too early in the campaign to speak about potential nominees, the pro-life leaders are not sold on Trump's recent pro-life sentiments.
"Mr. Trump has said his sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who struck down the Partial Birth Abortion Ban in New Jersey, would be a 'phenomenal' choice for the court. Earlier this month, Mr. Trump also said he thought pro-choice Senator Scott Brown would make a 'very good' vice president," the letter explains. "If one truly believes, as we do, that abortion is the taking of an innocent human life and is committed to the pro-life priorities of ending abortion after five months, and defunding the nation's largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, it would be a disaster to have a vice president who disagrees."
This past Sunday, Trump attended a worship service at a church in Iowa that is affiliated with Presbyterian Church (USA). Although Trump is a Presbyterian, he may not have known that Presbyterian USA is a liberal-leaning denomination that does not believe abortion should be legally restricted.
The letter, which was signed by Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance, author Star Parker and others, suggests that Trump cannot be trusted on abortion.
"America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women," the letter states. "We cannot trust Donald Trump to do either. Therefore we urge our fellow citizens to support an alternative candidate."