The pro-life movement finds itself in a unique – and arguably enviable – position as both houses of Congress and the presidency are controlled by self-proclaimed pro-lifers.
Thankfully the 2016 presidential election cycle is over and while the candidates left countless things to be desired, the nation is left grappling with a president who essentially insulted his way to the nation’s highest elected office.
But it’s over, at last. While pro-lifers, including myself, never had Donald Trump as their first choice, he’s now the president, for better or worse.
Many pro-lifers have questioned his creds as a true believer in the protection of innocent life. But does it matter now?
No. It matters that he is the first president elected that made specific pro-life promises on the campaign trail: to defund Planned Parenthood, appoint pro-life Supreme Court Justices, pass a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, and permanently ban taxpayer funding of abortion. No candidate has ever before made those promises.
It doesn’t matter if pro-lifers like President Trump or not. He represents the best opportunity the pro-life movement has had to pass life-saving legislation at the national level in at least a decade.
He has already affirmed his promise to appoint pro-life Supreme Court Justices and has placed a committed pro-lifer, Reince Priebus, as his Chief of Staff.
His campaign manager was Kellyanne Conway, who is well-known among pro-life organizations as an ardent supporter of the protection of life. And he chose Governor Mike Pence as his Vice President, who was trying to defund Planned Parenthood when he was a Congressman way before it was cool to do so.
Of course, like any elected official, Trump’s promises must be taken with a giant grain of salt, especially because he only recently became pro-life and his convictions remain questionable at best.
Implicitly trusting the Trump-Pence Administration on pro-life matters would be foolish. He has a lot to prove. It’s unclear what he is going to give up in search of the best deal on innumerable issues but we hope it isn’t the lives of the preborn.
In any case, the pro-life movement is not claiming Donald Trump to be their leader. His presidency is a tool to be used to save lives and get closer to abolishing abortion.
He’s not a crusader for the cause nor is he the face of the pro-life movement. He doesn’t influence pro-life leaders, yet pro-life leaders and their organizations need to take every opportunity to influence him and hold him to the promises he made during the campaign.
And we have that opportunity. Now that the election is over, the real work begins. Our grassroots efforts must be greater than ever.
We are fighting every day for the lives of thousands of babies, for families, for women, and for our communities.
Abortion is going to be front and center in the national conversation over the next four years. This is a chance to show Americans – both pro-life and pro-choice – what it means to be part of a vast, diverse movement of people who see abortion as the biggest human rights crisis of our time.
The pro-life movement is the courageous prayer warriors spending countless hours praying outside abortion facilities, counseling women and men considering abortion.
It is the student standing up for the preborn and bringing resources for pregnant and parenting students to campus. It is the family who opens their home to a woman in need. It is the couple who steps out in faith to adopt a child. It is the activists who give freely of themselves to end the greatest human rights injustice our world has ever known.
That is the face, and the heart and soul, of the pro-life movement. We are a grassroots movement with a huge opportunity. Let’s not squander it by waiting for the perfect president..