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Mike Pence: Trump Has Betrayed the Pro-Life Movement

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By: Mike Pence – nytimes.com – April 20, 2024

Serving as vice president in the most pro-life administration in American history was one of the greatest honors of my life. Of all our accomplishments, I am perhaps most proud that the Supreme Court justices we confirmed voted to send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history, ending a travesty of jurisprudence that led to the death of more than 63 million unborn Americans.

Since Roe was overturned, I have been inspired by the efforts of pro-life leaders in states across the country, including Indiana, to advance strong protections for the unborn and vulnerable women.

But while nearly half of our states have enacted strong pro-life laws, some Democrats continue to support taxpayer-funded abortions up to the moment of birth in the rest of the country.

Which is why I believe the time has come to adopt a minimum national standard restricting abortion after 15 weeks in order to end late-term abortions nationwide.

The majority of Americans favor some form of restriction on abortions, and passing legislation prohibiting late-term abortions would largely reflect that view. Democrats in Washington have already attempted to legalize abortion up to the moment of birth, and they failed. But they will try again, with similar extremism, if abortion restrictions are not put in place at the federal level.

Contrary to Democrats’ claims, prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks is entirely reasonable.

While Democrats often hold up Europe as a model for America to emulate, a vast majority of European countries have national limits on elective abortion after 15 weeks. Germany and Belgium have a gestational limit of up to 14 weeks. A majority of European countries are even more restrictive, with Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Austria, Italy and Ireland banning abortion on demand after 12 weeks.

When it comes to abortion policy, America today appears closer to communist China and North Korea than to the nations of Europe. By prohibiting late-term abortions after 15 weeks, America can move away from the radical fringe and squarely back into the mainstream of Western thought and jurisprudence.

That’s why it was so disheartening for me to see former President Trump’s recent retreat from the pro-life cause. Like so many other advocates for life, I was deeply disappointed when Mr. Trump stated that he considered abortion to be a states only issue and would not sign a bill prohibiting late-term abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even if it came to his desk.

I know firsthand just how committed he was to the pro-life movement during our time in office. Who can forget the way candidate Donald Trump denounced late term abortion during a debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016, highlighting how she and other Democrats would allow doctors to “rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”

In 2018, ahead of a Senate vote on a 20-week national ban that was passed earlier by the House, the president publicly stated that he “strongly supported” efforts to end late-term abortions nationwide with exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother.

Now not only is Mr. Trump retreating from that position; he is leading other Republicans astray. One recent example is an Arizona Republican running for the U.S. Senate who followed Trump’s lead and pledged to oppose a federal ban on late term abortions. When our leaders aren’t firmly committed to life, others will waver, too. Courage inspires imitation. So does weakness.

While some worry about the political ramifications of adopting a 15-week minimum national standard, history has proved that when Republicans stand for life without apology and contrast our common-sense positions with the extremism of the pro abortion left, voters reward us with victories at the ballot box. In fact, voters overwhelmingly re-elected Govs. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Greg Abbott of Texas and Brian Kemp of Georgia, after they signed bills prohibiting abortion after six weeks.

But what should concern us far more than the politics of abortion is the immorality of ending an unborn human life. At 15 weeks of development, a baby’s face is well formed, and her eyes are sensitive to light. She can suck her thumb and make a fist. She is beginning to move and stretch. And she is created in the image of God, the same as you or me.

Now is not the time to surrender any ground in the fight for the right to life. While the former president has sounded the retreat on life at the national level, I pray that he will rediscover the passion for life that defined our four years in office and rejoin the fight to end late-term abortions in America once and for all. The character of our nation and the lives of generations not yet born demand nothing less.

Mr. Pence was vice president of the United States from 2017 to 2021 and is a former candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

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