I’m writing this piece on the Amtrak train going home after an incredible three days around the March for Life. Though I’m physically exhausted, I leave Washington riding an incredible emotional high. Great things are happening in the pro-life movement.

There were once again huge numbers of participants in the March from all over the world—and once again the March was dominated by young people. We are also seeing more and more people of color at the March for Life—particularly Latinos and Latinas. One of my favorite signs was a classic example of resisting the throw-away culture: “Don’t Abort, Don’t Deport.”

You couldn’t walk 20 feet without seeing a new sign that, in some form, insisted that welcoming the vulnerable stranger is fundamental to respecting the dignity of the human person—and therefore a pro-life issue.

The previous week saw pro-life feminists get incredible coverage as they attended the Women’s March, and it was very important that they were once again well-represented at the March for Life.

Pope Francis also sent his full support to the marchers—using some of the harshest language yet in condemning abortion. Nothing can justify terminating the life of “an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb,” the pope said.

I had coffees, drinks, and meals with many different kinds of people who—while uncompromising on protecting and supporting prenatal children—were outspoken in their criticism of the Trump administration. So many politically and religiously-diverse people are doing everything they can to demonstrate that he must not be the face of the authentic pro-life movement.

Our pro-life commitment to the principle that people are not things means resisting the administration on several fronts—from his plans to deport children, reconsider torture, to refuse to allow refugees in the country.

It was, therefore, a mixed blessing that Vice-President Mike Pence and Kellyanne Conway (senior advisor to Trump) were at the March. They are powerful pro-life voices, but they also made it easier for our opponents to tie us to the Trump administration.

That fact became particularly troubling after the March for Life when Trump announced a policy which, in the words of the US Catholic Bishops, “will have devastating impacts on refugee resettlements in the United States.” His new executive order does the following:

  • Halts the entire refugee admissions program for 120 days to determine additional security vetting procedures;
  • Cuts the number of refugees admitted in FY 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000;
  • Suspends resettlement of refugees from Syria;
  • Suspends the issuance of visas to individuals from countries of concern, including Syria, Iraq, Iran and other countries.

As I write this there are already desperate refugees who have gone through an arduous vetting process being detained at US airports.

The irony of this happening on the day of the March for Life could not have been lost on Pope Francis, who has repeatedly said that one cannot call oneself a Christian and refuse to welcome refugees. It is a classic example of capitulation to the throw-away culture.

Trump’s executive order also took place on Holocaust Remembrance Day—providing a jolting reminder of the pathetic moral failure of the United States to take in Jewish refugees during World War II.

Significantly, the “national security” reasons given to justify our policy of abandoning the most vulnerable in that era are cut out of the same cloth as the reasons the Trump administration is giving for this new policy of abandonment.

There is a healthy debate going on in the pro-life movement about what our relationship to the Trump administration should be. Clearly there are some good signs in the short term when it comes to abortion. But I strongly maintain my position that Trump’s election is a major defeat for pro-lifers in the long term.

The movement has worked so hard to distance ourselves from the values of people like Donald Trump, and we have been very, very effective in doing so. No one fair-minded person who attended the March for Life could make sweeping statements about pro-lifers being in the tank for Trump. One could literally build a mountain out of the signs at the March which either explicitly or implicitly called out the administration.

But little by little, issue by issue, our opponents are moving to tie the pro-life movement to the horrific policies of the Trump administration. Refusing to help vulnerable refugees is just the beginning. Just wait until health care becomes a mess. Or immigrant families get ripped apart. Or we murder the innocent family members of terrorists.

Pro-life leaders must make it absolutely clear that, while we may support some of the things the administration is doing to protect prenatal children, we absolutely do not support their broader agenda. If the pro-life movement gets close enough to Trump that our opponents can tie us to his policies, then we will be dealt a blow from which it will take multiple generations to recover.

Charles C. Camosy is Associate Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University and author of Beyond the Abortion Wars.