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.