Washington Wednesday: A less pro-abortion candidate | WORLD
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Washington Wednesday: A less pro-abortion candidate


WORLD Radio - Washington Wednesday: A less pro-abortion candidate

Former President Donald Trump’s current position on abortion causes concern for pro-life advocates

Abby Johnson Associated Press/Photo by Darron Cummings

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 10th of April, 2024.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. It’s Washington Wednesday.

Former President Donald Trump on Monday explained how he thinks the federal government should approach abortion now that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade with its Dobbs decision nearly two years ago.

TRUMP: My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint, the states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both, and whatever they decide will be the law of the land, in this case the law of the state.

REICHARD: Pro-life responses have been mixed. Some, like South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, say Trump’s position is “exactly right” for the current political climate. Others say it’s “a slap in the face,” such as Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence.

BROWN: What does Trump’s clarified position on unborn life mean for the pro-life movement?

Joining us now to talk about it is Abby Johnson, a former clinic director at Planned Parenthood who now advocates for unborn babies.

REICHARD: Abby, welcome!

ABBY JOHNSON: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

REICHARD: Abby, we will get to President Trump’s statement in a moment. But first, let’s set the stage with your speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention. You said President Trump had “done more for the unborn than any other president.” Abby, what was it like to be a pro-life activist during the Trump administration?

JOHNSON: Well, it was great. I mean, we we really thought that we had an advocate in the White House. The one great thing I can say is that he did put good people around him, people that we knew. We didn't know him. We knew the things that we heard, which weren't always that great. And I'll be honest, I did not, I was not super pumped about him in 2016. But over that four years, 2016 to 2020, you know, I thought, okay, he's put good people around him, we're going in the right direction. And so when I was asked to speak at the RNC, I felt secure enough in the fact that we, I knew that we were going to have, there was going to be an opportunity to overturn Roe, and I thought we, we have to have the right players in place. And I thought if we don't, then this maybe once in my lifetime opportunity is going to be taken off the table. And so I was really fighting for another term for him. It didn't work out, but thankfully, we did get Roe overturned anyway, and I was very happy about that. And that was because of the Supreme Court justices that were put on the bench. And that was, that was great.

REICHARD: Well, now we have the former president saying abortion should be left to the states with allowances for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. So what do you think about this stance?

JOHNSON: I feel like we were all a little conned by him. I think that he said the things that he needed to say to all of us, to all of the major players, and to all the major pro-life organizations to get the vote. He knew he needed another term, and so I feel like he said the things that he needed to say. And now he doesn't have to do that anymore. I think now he can say how he really feels. I do believe he's against third trimester abortion. He's said that over and over again. But when it comes to first and second trimester abortion, I think he's perfectly fine with it. And now here we are, and we're stuck with this guy who I don't believe is pro life. But he's less pro-abortion than Biden. And that's where we are right now.

REICHARD: That's what my next question is about. There are a lot of people saying, hey, from a practical standpoint, the unborn are still better off with Trump as president than with a pro-abortion Democrat of any stripe. What do you say about that?

JOHNSON: I mean, I don't know that that's necessarily true, if I think about it, the way that abortion was when Roe was on the books, there were very few states, there were only like three or four states that provided third trimester abortion, there are more now. We did not have states that had abortion written in their constitution. We do now.

So I don't know. I don't know that leaving it up to the states has been a better thing, because the rage vote is very real. And we know statistically, women don't want to hear this. People don't want to hear this, but this is true: we know that the more women that vote, the more liberal the vote becomes. And right now, angry women are voting. They're coming out to the polls, and they're voting and they're voting in favor of death. They're voting in favor of abortion.

REICHARD: Well, let's talk about state versus versus federal now. There are pro life for groups that agree abortion should be a federal issue when we're talking about life matters, that Dobbs did allow for Congress to act, not just the states. So Abby, what other steps do you want to see the Federal Government take to protect the unborn?

JOHNSON: Well, I mean, there is there is a federal statute against murder. I don't know why abortion should be any different. But we have just such a strange view of life in this country. We don't have a consensus that life begins at conception, even though scientifically, there is a consensus. If you ask scientists, they will tell you life begins at conception. But just in the general lay population, we don't have a consensus that life begins at conception. And if you don't believe that life begins at conception, if you don't believe that there's life in the womb, then you can't believe that taking a life from the womb is murder. So I think we have a pretty big education problem in this country. So I mean, politically, I don't know. I don't know federally where we go. I was very disappointed to hear Trump say that he wouldn't even support a third trimester ban on abortion. I mean, I know he doesn't like third trimester abortion -  he talks about it over and over and over again. So why wouldn't he at least try to ban third trimester abortion? He didn't even talk about the Mexico City Policy.

REICHARD: Which says what?

JOHNSON: That's restricting global funding of abortion, he didn't even talk about that. Which is a, that's like a ping pong issue. No matter who's in office, if there's a Democrat in office that's the first thing they do on day one, they start funding abortion globally. And then if it's a Republican in office, they immediately stop it on day one. He didn't even talk about that. He didn't talk about supporting initiatives to protect babies that have been born alive after an abortion, making sure those babies can be resuscitated and cared for. The CDC says that at least four to 500 babies are born alive after intended abortions, every year. No comment on that? No, no provision to support those babies? I and then I mean, he started right off the gate with in vitro fertilization, which I know is is super controversial, particularly in the pro-life mix. A lot of people have conceived their children that way. But I think there's a lot of education to be had on IVF. There is, you know, narrowly an IVF procedure that takes place where unborn lives aren't destroyed. But he says that we're going to protect IVF at all costs. I think his lack of education on the pro-life movement was really showing in his statement, I think he's showing us really truly who he is. And I don't believe he believes that life begins at conception. And I don't believe that he's for protecting the preborn in the womb.

REICHARD: I've got a frank question for you here. You've already referenced how since Dobbs overturned Roe that pro-abortion candidates and ballot initiatives have been successful at the ballot box. I'm thinking of Kansas and Ohio as examples of that. So just just to be clear, would you prefer that Trump states he supports federal action on abortion, even if that means that he would lose lose the election to someone pro-choice like, like Joe Biden is?


REICHARD: And why?

JOHNSON: I would rather lose 25 years of elections if that meant that people will finally stand up and stop compromising on the issue of abortion. And I believe that that would happen. My oldest daughter is 17, and she and her friends, I believe that we are creating the most pro-life generation that we've ever seen probably in 40 years, 40-50 years. They are no-compromise. And I believe that one of the reasons is because their first pictures of themselves are pictures of themselves in the womb. Ultrasound technology has changed the face of this nation. And it has changed this particular generation of 17 to 20 year olds, I believe that we are raising a generation of no-compromise pro-lifers, and I see them at the March for Life every year. They are motivated, they're excited about life. And so if that means that we have to lose election after election after election, until that group of people grows up, and they're old enough to vote and change the face of this nation, and we have to lose until we protect them all, then I'm willing to lose.

REICHARD: Final question here, Abby, for those who don't know you. Can you tell a little bit about why you were so passionate about saving the unborn?

JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, I was a perpetrator of abortion. I worked in the abortion industry for eight years of my life. I was a clinic director of Planned Parenthood. I've seen these children die, I've pieced their body parts back together. I watched a 13 week old baby die in the womb. I watched that baby fight and struggle against the abortion instruments until eventually, his body was torn apart by the force of the suction machine. And that was the pivotal moment in my life where God changed my heart. And so while I want none to perish, that was the moment that God spoke to me and said, We are not to compromise with evil. And I believe that he's calling us as a nation right now, to say, flee from evil. 

REICHARD: Abby Johnson is the founder of Pro-Love Ministries and the subject of the 2019 movie Unplanned. Abby, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

JOHNSON: Of course. Thank you.

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