The XX Factor

Donald Trump Promises Unprecedented Abortion Crackdowns if He’s Elected

Donald Trump says he would ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump has released a letter outlining his plan to make abortions more expensive, harder to get, and outright illegal. Addressed to “Pro-Life Leader,” the letter seems meant to shore up Trump support among abortion-rights opponents who doubt his commitment to preserving every fetus in America. “As we head into the final stretch of the campaign, the help of leaders like you is essential to ensure that pro-life voters know where I stand,” it reads.

Most of the letter is dedicated to Hillary Clinton, and it characterizes her views on abortion in a breathless way that would probably rev up an average reproductive justice rally: “Hillary Clinton not only supports abortion on-demand for any reason, but she’d take it a step further: She wants to force the taxpayers to pay for abortions by repealing the bi-partisan Hyde Amendment.” Finally! Low-income women should have access to essential health care, too! It’s about time progressives realized that choice without access is no choice at all. Trump continues: “When asked on Meet the Press when unborn children have constitutional rights, Clinton bluntly responded, ‘The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.’ ” Yes, Hillary! Fetuses don’t have those! “She will only appoint Supreme Court justices who share this view.” Damn right she will!

But I guess some people would find these truths to be demerits for a presidential candidate, and those people haven’t found it easy to get behind Trump. The letter announces that anti-abortion leader Marjorie Dannenfelser—president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life electoral advocacy group—will head up Trump’s efforts against abortion. The Cut points out that earlier this year, Dannenfelser, on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony List, backed a statement encouraging voters to back “anyone but Trump,” saying he “cannot be trusted” on abortion issues. The statement said Dannenfelser and her peers were “disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular.” Now Dannenfelser has joined the campaign of the man she once determined was “unacceptable” to serve as president.

The letter also lists a few to-dos for a Trump presidency, including getting anti-choice judges on the Supreme Court, defunding Planned Parenthood for as long as its clinics provide abortion care, making the Hyde Amendment a permanent law, and signing a law that would ban abortions beyond 20 weeks’ gestation.

If anyone’s derived a modicum of vague comfort from the memory of Trump’s former support for abortion rights, his illiteracy on the topic, or the general feeling that he doesn’t have any actual beliefs, this letter should shatter it. He’s now been well-trained by the GOP and anti-choice establishments, and the latter will use his lack of policy know-how to fill his agenda with the most extreme crackdowns on women’s autonomy they can muster. “Unacceptable” doesn’t begin to cover it.