The BLOG: Campaign 2016

Trump, exposed

For months now, Donald Trump has been posing as a conservative. His posture has fooled a few gullible conservatives, but the vast majority of conservatives have seen through the façade. Those who are committed to the culture of life and fidelity in particular remain opposed to Trump’s ridiculous demagoguery.

Trump’s mask fell off completely last night when he proclaimed that women who obtain abortions should face “some form of punishment.” That is not a pro-life view. That is the sort of bad caricature of a pro-life view that one routinely hears from left liberals who are ignorant about pro-life ideas. Ignorant like Trump.

Pro-lifers are pro-life, and therefore pro-women and pro-children. As he demonstrated (again) last night, Donald Trump is not pro-life; he is anti-women. He does not hold the pro-life view. He holds the view that left liberals falsely attribute to pro-lifers.

Princeton philosopher and pro-life intellectual Robert George explains:

Mr. Trump evidently wants to show us how genuine his conversion is by depicting himself as severely pro-life. But pro-lifers are compassionate, seeking the good of unborn children and their mothers, never pitting them or their interests against each other. We are interested in saving babies, not punishing mothers. And we know that we don’t need to punish mothers to save babies.

Anyone who claims to be pro-life and is still supporting Trump is now without excuse.

George observes that Trump’s proposal is at odds with the primary goal that pro-lifers have shared from the beginning of the movement: “restoring the historic laws of abortion (which were overturned in Roe v. Wade) that punished abortionists, and did not punish women.” Pro-lifers — people who are actually pro-life and not anti-women — know that.

Anyone who has spent time investing in and reading pro-life ideas, as Trump manifestly has not, knows that the Roe ruling was not designed to secure women’s rights. Roe was designed to secure the rights of doctors to exploit women.

Anyone who has spent time investing in and reading pro-life ideas, as Trump manifestly has not, knows that the Roe ruling overturned more than a century of nuanced developments in the law that were designed to protect both patient rights and the lives of the unborn, and that the leading advocates of those legal protections were doctors who wanted to regulate their own profession for the health of their patients.

And anyone who has spent time investing in and reading pro-life ideas, as Trump manifestly has not, understands that pro-lifers are concerned with the moral valence of intention. We are not consequentialists. The abortion doctor is culpable because his intention is to kill; his project fails if the child survives the abortion. The intentions of a mother who walks into an abortion clinic are often more complex.

These are facts and distinctions that pro-lifers grasp quite easily. Some left liberals who want to discredit or ignore pro-life ideas obscure those facts or elide those distinctions. But the misunderstanding is often more innocuous. Most left liberals I know are simply unaware of these distinctions because they surround themselves with left liberals who are ignorant. Ignorant like Trump.

Adam J. MacLeod

Adam J. MacLeod

Adam J. MacLeod is a member of the Maine and Massachusetts (inactive) bars and an Associate Professor at Faulkner University, Jones School of Law. He is the author of “Property and Practical Reason” (Cambridge University Press) and dozens of articles in journals in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, many of which can be accessed at his website.