Pro-life leader Lila Rose says Donald Trump’s comments Thursday that he will change the GOP’s platform on abortion to include exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother imply that babies conceived in rape are “less worthy” of protection from abortion than others.
After Donald Trump’s comments, the president and founder of pro-life organization Live Action said in a statement sent to Breitbart News:
Rape and incest are horrific injustices, and those who commit these acts should always be punished to the full extent of the law. U.S. law forbids the use of the death penalty as a punishment for rapists, yet current law permits killing the innocent preborn children conceived in rape. Abortion should not be held up as a pathway to healing from rape or incest, as it doesn’t undo the crime; it just adds more violence to what the survivor has already endured.
“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 explained. “To say children conceived in rape are somehow less human and shouldn’t be allowed to live is a grave injustice.”
During a town hall on NBC’s Today show, host Savannah Guthrie asked Trump about abortion exceptions, as CNN reports.
“The Republican platform every four years has a provision that states that the right of the unborn child should not be infringed,” Guthrie said. “And it makes no exceptions for rape, for incest, for the life of the mother. Would you want to change the Republican platform to include the [abortion] exceptions that you have?”
“Yes, I would. Yes, I would. Absolutely,” Trump said. “For the three exceptions, I would.”
The Republican platform abortion policy currently reads: “We assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.”
“Survivors of rape and incest and their children must be shown compassion and be supported by their communities,” Rose said. “While some mothers choose to keep their children, adoption is the option for those who don’t.”
The exception of the life of the mother is often used by abortion advocates to attempt to cast pro-life activists as unsympathetic toward women in crisis.
When asked about abortion, Donald Trump often states that his view — which includes the “exceptions” — is the same as that of President Ronald Reagan.
“You have the three exceptions,” he said last August. “I’m for the exceptions. The health of the mother and life of the mother. I absolutely am for the exceptions, and so was Ronald Reagan for the exceptions, by the way. There’s nothing wrong with that. You have to do it, in my opinion.”
In his State of the Union address in January of 1988, however, President Ronald Reagan said the following, noting only one exception:
I call America–a good nation, a moral people–to charitable but realistic consideration of the terrible cost of abortion on demand. To those who say this violates a woman’s right to control of her own body: Can they deny that now medical evidence confirms the unborn child is a living human being entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Let us unite as a nation and protect the unborn with legislation that would stop all Federal funding for abortion and with a human life amendment making, of course, an exception where the unborn child threatens the life of the mother. Our Judeo-Christian tradition recognizes the right of taking a life in self-defense. But with that one exception, let us look to those others in our land who cry out for children to adopt. I pledge to you tonight I will work to remove barriers to adoption and extend full sharing in family life to millions of Americans so that children who need homes can be welcomed to families who want them and love them.
As National Right to Life observes, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop noted the extreme rarity of the situation in which the life of the mother is endangered by pregnancy:
Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36 years in pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother’s life. . . . If, toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother’s health, he will take the child by inducing labor or performing a Caesarean section. His intention is still to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby will be premature and perhaps immature depending on the length of gestation. Because it has suddenly been taken out of the protective womb, it may encounter threats to its survival. The baby is never willfully destroyed because the mother’s life is in danger (as told to Dick Bohrer, in Moody Monthly, May, 1980).
Similarly, Alan Guttmacher, M.D. — known as the “father of Planned Parenthood” — observed in 1967 in The Case for Legalized Abortion Now, “Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life.”
“The number of medical cases in which abortion is an indicated and appropriate part of the treatment is practically nil,” said Jasper Williams, M.D., past president of the National Medical Association, in testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Hearings on Constitutional Amendments Relating to Abortion, October 19, 1981. “Since 1953, I have never seen a patient die who died because she needed an abortion and it could not be performed.”
“Over 1000 medical professionals from around the world have publicly declared that abortion is never medically necessary to save a mother’s life,” Rose said. “While life-saving medical treatment may result in the death of the child in a mother’s womb, there is a fundamental difference between providing that legitimate treatment and elective abortion.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, tells Breitbart News that Trump’s comments show his lack of awareness of the issues surrounding the right to life and of the political process of deciding the GOP platform.
“By saying he will put exceptions into the GOP platform, Donald Trump is showing, once again, how little he knows about the GOP platform process, which is decided upon by elected delegates of our party, not a candidate, as well as the pro-life movement,” she said. “Does he want to put an exception into the platform saying it’s okay to murder a two-year-old child whose father is a rapist too?”
“Or is he only okay with it as long as the child hasn’t been born yet?” Hawkins adds. “I think Mr. Trump needs a little more education. Students for Life would like to invite him to one of our trainings on campus. We hope his campaign reaches out soon as we will schedule a special training for him to attend immediately.”