If you’re Christian (and especially if you are a Catholic Christian), you’re likely to want to vote for the pro-life candidate. The question is: are either of the major party candidates pro-life, and, if so, which one? Many say that Trump is the pro-life candidate because of his promise to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, but is this credible, or enough? Here’s my take on it. I am using the website onetheissues.org as a way to quickly check their stances.
Trump is now claiming to be pro-life, but his statements in that regard are hardly stellar. In one breath he praises Planned Parenthood, but in the next says it must be defunded, or just the abortion part. He says he’s against late abortions, but gives an exception for rape, incest, or health. If abortion is wrong, it is wrong. Full stop. No exceptions. Also, the health of the mother exception could be broadly applied, depending on the doctor. Furthermore, since technology has advanced to the degree it has, second trimester babies can survive! I personally know a 24-weeker, so I fail to see why such a child would need to be aborted instead of delivered and cared for. As far as I know, he has said nothing about how to reduce the number of abortions beyond restricting abortion (and as I pointed out, his statements on that sound more like rhetoric than anything that would make a real difference, in my opinion).
Clinton, of course, is pro-choice. She uses some of the same language, though, saying that she’d support restrictions on late-term abortion, provided there are exceptions for the life/health of the mother. Sounds rather like Trump’s statement, there. Despite what some viral posts have said, she hasn’t said she’d legalize abortion to 36 weeks with no exceptions. She has also said that she would prefer to encourage foster and adoption as a way to reduce the numbers of abortion. I know many who would love to foster or adopt but who have been unable to do so because of cost, waiting lists, etc.
ETA: I just learned that Clinton is in favour of abolishing the Hyde Amendment, and that is not good.
Conclusion: Neither candidate is truly anti-abortion. One could debate whose stance would reduce the number of abortions more.
This is the point that many stress, saying that the next president will likely appoint 3-4 justices. Here, though, we can’t just look at what the candidates say, but at what the Senate make-up will likely be. Trump says he’ll appoint justices like Scalia (though in the past he’s commented that his sister, who is liberal, would be a good justice); it’s a pretty good bet Clinton would not appoint justices like Scalia. I think the GOP shot itself in the foot, though, when McConnell refused to even allow a vote on Gardiner, who is a moderate and could have made a good justice. So I’m not confident that there will still be a Republican majority in the Senate, which means that if Trump is elected, he’s going to have to compromise on his choices if the Senate is to approve them. I don’t know if either side will have filibuster-proof majority, so Clinton may also have to make concessions to avoid a filibuster.
Trump has said he wants to add an ideological test to immigration and to restrict/ban Muslim immigrants from entering. Besides violating the Constitution, it also isn’t pro-life. These are people seeking relief from horrible situations (some of them). We don’t believe in only helping people who are Catholic – we believe in helping everyone because we are Catholic.
Clinton has said she’d end the mass deportations and such, though I was under the impression that she was involved with that under Obama.
Healthcare and family leave:
I have no idea how Trump feels about paid family leave, though if I had to guess I’d venture to say he’s against a federal law on that. I could be wrong, though, so I won’t take that into consideration. He’s in favour of more competition with health care. On the one hand, I can see how would seem to make sense, except that I think, in practice, the poorer people would still be up a creek. Access to good health care shouldn’t hinge on the economic status of the person seeking it.
Clinton is a supporter of paid family leave, which is a huge need. So many parents must return to work immediately after the birth of a child, even though that isn’t in the best interest of the parent or child, because they cannot afford to stay home even for a few weeks. Supporting paid family leave is pro-life. Having a policy like that may even reduce abortions because a woman will know she doesn’t have choose between losing her job, paying for day care, or having a child. Interestingly, she doesn’t seem to be in favour of a single-payer system, so that needs work. Everyone needs to be able to access truly affordable health care (and that is not possible at the moment, at least in my state).
So, yay for paid family leave. Neither is perfect on health care.
Yes, I consider gun control to be a pro-life issue. Many seem to have this idea that they’ll be John Wayne and save the day; I’m sceptical.
Trump says mental illness is the problem but that guns save lives. Clinton points out the high number of gun deaths in this country (which, yes, includes suicides and accidents, but those things wouldn’t be as common, either, without those guns) and supports gun control. To me, that is pro-life. I know others disagree and point out that there are law-abiding gun owners. I know that. I also see how some gun supporters have this idea that they’ll then be safe, yet in order to be a responsible gun owner you can’t just keep a loaded gun in easy reach because you have to ensure kids can’t to them (thus the accidents). I know that wouldn’t apply in every situation, since there aren’t always kids around. I also see how police must immediately assume that people have guns, and therefore there is a more adversarial approach to policing. Maybe it’s just because I lived in the UK, where neither the citizens nor the police carry handguns, and I never felt the need for one. Even when my house was broken into (while we were at home), I didn’t feel the need to have a gun, and I doubt I would’ve been safe with one because I would’ve been too quick to grab it if I had it. I know that isn’t a universal. Also, I feel that just blaming mental illness isn’t an answer. It’s true that many mass shootings are carried out by those with mental health issues, but the vast majority of those with mental illness are danger only to themselves and need help, not further stigma. I am not stigmatizing gun owners (or I’m not trying to do so), because I know the majority are good citizens. I simply see no good reason why everyone needs the ability to own hand guns.
Trump has contradictory statements, at one time saying to raise the minimum wage and another time saying the opposite. I can hope that his most recent statement (raising it) is what he’d actually do, but given his frequent contradictions, I don’t know that I can trust that.
Clinton also says she’d raise the minimum wage. Both say they’ll bring back jobs from China. They aren’t incredibly different in their statements here.
Death Penalty and Torture:
Trump supports both of these. Interestingly, so does Clinton, to a degree. She does say that torture cannot be part of our policy, but did condone some exceptions in 2006, apparently.
So, who is pro-life? Neither of them. You could weigh the different issues and see which one is more pro-life if you insisted on voting with a major party, or you could find a third party that is truly pro-life (I recommend looking at the American Solidarity Party), or abstain from voting in the presidential election. Just don’t claim that one of the major party candidates is truly pro-life, because it isn’t true.