There are few topics in politics that can command such strong emotion on both sides as the issue of abortion. Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump has referred to himself as “pro-life,” saying he “opposes” abortion except for circumstances such as rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. As it currently stands, the Republican Party platform includes a strong stance as being a “pro-life party,” but the platform does not get into the question of exceptions.

When asked about the current GOP platform concerning abortion, Trump said he would support changing it to include exceptions, a position which has riled many pro-life groups and could ultimately create a contentious issue at the convention in July.

Report on Trump’s statements from Politico:

Donald Trump would “absolutely” change the Republican Party’s platform on abortion to include exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

“Yes, I would,” Trump told NBC’s “Today” on Thursday when asked if he would change the party’s provision. “Yes, I would. Absolutely. For the three exceptions, I would.”

The real estate mogul demurred when asked if he would include an exception for threats to the health of the mother — not just to her life — sticking to conservatives’ traditional exceptions.

“I would leave it for the life of the mother, but I would absolutely have the three exceptions,” he said.

As you might imagine, this answer which advocates “weakening” the GOP platform on abortion did not sit well with many pro-life groups. They responded quickly, as noted by Politico:

The latest flap exploded Thursday after Trump vowed he would “absolutely” change the Republican platform opposing abortion “for the three exceptions” — rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother. The platform is silent on exceptions, but anti-abortion groups such as March for Life shot back that Trump’s revisions would undermine the party’s “solidly pro-life” position.

“The suggestion that the platform should weaken its position on the pro-life issue would set back years of hard work in the pro-life movement,” said Tom McClusky, vice president of March for Life Action.

Trump has a tendency to answer questions like this without understanding all the nuances of the prevailing views within his own party, especially among grassroots activists in the pro-life movement. As with prior issues, where he back-tracked in a matter of hours, it remains to be seen whether he can smooth this one of over.

Whenever Trump wades into social issues, the result is usually a sloppy few days of revisions or amendments to his original answer. Take, for example, his response on the question about the North Carolina trans-gender bathroom law. He went from first saying that people should use whatever bathroom they want and chastising the state for passing such a law, to being on Fox News later the same day saying that the matter is a states’ rights issue and if North Carolina wants to require gender-specific bathrooms, then they should be allowed to do it.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride to Cleveland.


  1. It’s a bold choice for the GOP to eliminate all exceptions.

    Gallup says the public has recently tilted pro-choice, saying abortion should be–
    29% legal in all cases,
    51% legal in “some” cases, and only
    19% illegal in all cases.

    Quinnipiac agrees,

    22% legal in all cases,
    35% legal in “most” cases
    28% illegal in “most” cases
    12% illegal in all cases.

    In Quinnipiac poll, if you add the “mosts,” you get 63% in “some” cases.

    Gallup also notes that 27% of Republicans self-identify as “pro-choice.” Also, 80% of the public, as a whole, are “pro-choice” (in at least some cases).

    • I think the reason that exceptions are absent from the platform (as they’ve been for years) is because there is disagreement on that topic. As a compromise, the pro-lifers accepted a platform plank of being a “pro-life party.” Period. Leaving the rest of it up to someone else to hammer out so as to avoid disagreement over exceptions, time frames, etc…

    • That “some cases” is a seriously gray area though. I suspect many pro-lifers would allow an exception if both the mother and fetus are in mortal danger, which really isn’t much of a “choice” despite lumping them in with that group.

      I agree with your point though. It’s a wildly divisive, politically toxic issue.

      • That is a good point. In the case of a late-term pregnancy, in which a fetus would be viable, would a pro-lifer choose to let the woman die to save the fetus?

        • I wouldn’t want to speculate, but I have read that the Association of Pro-Life Physicians believe in prioritizing the mother’s health in dire medical situations. But I suspect that’s more for pragmatic reasons than ideological, as the fetus’ chance of survival is wholly dependent on the mother.

          • That’s why I added “viable.” What if it really were an either-or choice between the woman or the fetus?

            • If you’re asking me to speculate on what other people might do in an unrealistic hypothetical situation, well, I’d wager that some would favor one and some would favor the other. 🙂

        • There is no case where an abortion is appropriate to save the life of the mother. The proper thing to do is to attempt to save the life of both, doing all possible for them both. If one must prioritize, the mother would usually take priority, but what if the mother herself asks to prioritize the baby? But abortion is a hazard to a woman’s life and should never be used in such a situation, as there are less hazardous ways of delivering a baby from a woman in danger, and they can save the baby too.

  2. If anyone has listened trump has said he would not fund pph clinics that performed abortions. He has added that if they did other things like screening for stds and cancer then he would be supportive. How is that objectionable to either side. Is it not pro life to save someone from disease and cancer and if someone wants an abortion they can have it at a pph facility that is not funded. People need to not be so polarized since there will be pregnancies even if we make all the laws in the world and someone will want an abortion. What if a woman is raped and wants an abortion. Pro life is a good stance but if you have ever worked with children with no arms and legs the issues become more complex as to the quality of life that child is likely to achieve.

  3. Donald Trump is not pro-life. Anybody who says it’s okay to kill a baby because you don’t like the baby’s father is in favor of murder.

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