An article I recently stumbled upon confirmed my long-held contention that Donald Trump has undeniably taken over the evangelical movement in America’s white churches. Back in January 2020, The Daily Signal, a fervently Trump-supporting far-right “news” publication, reported the following:
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America aborted 345,672 babies during the 2018 fiscal year, the organization’s annual report shows.
Planned Parenthood’s 2018-2019 annual report shows that the organization performed 12,915 more abortions during the 2018 fiscal year than the organization did between 2017-2018. The nation’s largest abortion provider performed 345,672 abortions between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018, as opposed to the 332,757 abortions Planned Parenthood performed during the 2017 fiscal year.
Trump’s Pro-Life Pretense
Despite those numbers, 72 percent of white American evangelicals continue to support Donald Trump as president. That’s significant because the primary reason most white evangelicals claim to support the current president is his promise of being with them in the “pro-life” movement.
Donald Trump is not “pro-life” unless we’re talking about Donald Trump—and perhaps Ivanka Trump. Anyone else is expendable for the most self-centered president in this nation’s history. The figures shown above should end white evangelicals’ defense of Trump as “pro-life” and anti-abortion. Abortions provided by Planned Parenthood have increased during Trump’s presidency.
Setting aside one’s personal views on the controversial topic of abortion, the fact that Donald Trump has done nothing to lessen the number of abortions performed by the nation’s largest abortion provider utterly undermines evangelicals’ chief justification for their unwavering support for a politician whose lifestyle violates everything they claim to revere.
Since Trump’s Sherman-like conquering of the South’s Bible-Belt during the 2016 primaries, I have argued with my evangelical friends and relatives that supporting this utterly ungodly man based almost entirely on his claim of being pro-life was shortsighted at best. Their responses ranged from silence to fury. Not one of them ever engaged in a calm, logic-based discussion of the topic.
Now, as we near the end of Trump’s first term as president (and by all that is sacred, may it be his only) it’s obvious that his “pro-life,” anti-abortion statements were mere pretense aimed at winning white evangelical support, just another Trump con.
Historical Abortion Statistics
The ironic fact is that U.S. abortions reached their high point in 1990, when Republican George H.W. Bush was president, and have dropped nearly every year since then, regardless of presidents’ party affiliation.
But as long as a significant majority of Americans continue to favor the view that abortion should be a decision left to a pregnant woman and her doctor, abortion will remain legal in the United States. No president is going to change that. Nor will a conservatively-stacked Supreme Court. Even if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe V. Wade, abortions would not be outlawed nationwide. In such a scenario, as Elizabeth Nash, Senior State Issues Manager at the Guttmacher Institute says, “The states get to create their own abortion laws.”
Legalized abortion in the United States will not be overturned. Period. Yet millions of white evangelicals are happy to give their unqualified allegiance to a man who has promised to do just that. Based on his empty promise, they’re more than happy to endure—or even celebrate—the man’s myriad lies, his blatant racism and xenophobia, his gross ignorance of and disregard for the nation’s history and historical norms, his obvious indifference to the U.S. Constitution, his revolting immorality, and his blatant abuse of power to enrich himself.
When I sent evangelical friends the link to The Daily Signal article about increased Planned Parenthood abortions listed at the beginning of this post, I got no reply. Utter silence. None of the president’s personal defects matter—nor does his failure to deliver on his promises to be evangelicals’ chief champion in the “pro-life” movement. All that matters now is absolute loyalty to the new messiah.