Donald Trump Falters on Question Over Privacy, Abortion

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 19, 2011   |   3:25PM   |   Washington, DC

Businessman Donald Trump faltered when responding to a series of questions on abortion that saw NBC reporter Savannah Guthrie attempt to challenge him on the so-called right to privacy the Supreme Court invented to create a “right” to abortion.

“Is there a right to privacy in the Constitution?” Guthrie asked Trump.

“I guess there is, I guess there is.  And why, just out of curiosity, why do you ask that question?” Trump responded, his tone of voice changing to one of skepticism.

Guthrie asked Trump how his newfound pro-life view “squares” with the so-called privacy right and Trump replied to the question with an answer that made it appear he doesn’t understand the legal arguments underpinning the abortion debate.

He said, “Well, that’s a pretty strange way of getting to pro-life.  I mean, it’s a very unique way of asking about pro-life.  What does that have to do with privacy?  How are you equating pro-life with privacy? ”

NBC’s Guthrie then said, “well, you know about the Roe v. Wade decision” and Trump appeared to finally understand the context of the question. “Yes, right sure,” he said. “Look, I am pro-life.  I’ve said it.  I’m very strong there.”

Grassroots pro-life voters typically welcome converts to the pro-life cause but, in the political world, view recent converts with skepticism because they appears to have made the conversion solely because they desire pro-life votes in an upcoming election. Trumps response to the question makes it appear he needs to study up on the abortion debate if he wants his pro-life conversion to be taken seriously as the creation of the fictitious right to privacy is the hallmark of the Roe decision and one of the chief objections pro-life advocates have to it.

The privacy right invention also alarms conservative judicial scholars, and pro-life voters, who worried about activists judges who make law from the bench rather than defer to Congress and the state legislatures. With the Supreme Court potentially teetering on a one-vote pro-abortion majority and the next president potentially making another selection or two for the nation’s high court, the issue of judges will take center role in the next presidential election — especially knowing pro-abortion President Barack Obama has already placed two more aggressive abortion advocates on the high court.

Unless Trump can appreciate and articulate the pro-life case against such pro-abortion activists judges and assure conservative voters he will appoint only strict constructionists who respect the rule of law and won’t legislate from the bench, he will have a hard time drumming up support in Republican circles.

Several months ago, when questioned about his position, Trump responded by saying the public “would be surprised” by his stance and, in an interview with Laura Ingraham from Fox News leading up to the conference, Trump characterized himself as “pro-life” and he repeated that apparent reversal when he told the audience at CPAC, “I am pro-life” and pledged to fight for the reversal of Obamacare, which contains abortion funding loopholes.

That was a marked change from how Trump described himself in his  2000 book The America We Deserve, where he wrote, “I support a woman’s right to choose but I am uncomfortable with the procedures.”

Earlier this month, in a new interview with CBN News’ David Brody, Trump explained the evolution of his thinking and how stories of pregnancies — including one in particular — helped change his mind on abortion.

“Evangelicals do want to feel secure that they’re going to have a nominee that’s going to at least be solid on those issues, those social issues. Someone that’s not just going to cut and move on,” Brody said to Trump.

The billionaire responded, “One thing about me, I’m a very honorable guy. I’m pro-life, but I changed my view a number of years ago.”

“One of the reasons I changed — one of the primary reasons — a friend of mine’s wife was pregnant, in this case married. She was pregnant and he didn’t really want the baby. And he was telling me the story,” Trump told Brody. “He was crying as he was telling me the story. He ends up having the baby and the baby is the apple of his eye. It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to him. And you know here’s a baby that wasn’t going to be let into life. And I heard this, and some other stories, and I am pro-life.”

“So those stories did change you, they came around and changed you?” Brody asked.

“They changed me. Yeah, they changed my view as to that, absolutely,” Trump responded.

As the 2012 race intensifies, pro-life advocates must call upon Donald Trump to further explain his stand on important pro-life issues like Supreme Court nominations and repeal of the pro-abortion Obama healthcare law. A year away from the first primary contests, some Republicans are dissatisfied with the current list of potential presidential candidates. With no clear front-runner at this point, a candidacy by Donald Trump could be appealing for some.

Yet, some pro-life advocates are strongly supportive of some of the truly pro-life potential Republican presidential hopefuls. Stalwarts like Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee have significant support among GOP and independent voters. Lesser-known, but equally pro-life, likely candidates like Governor Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain are also strongly pro-life. Others, like Haley Barbor of Mississippi, Jon Huntsman of Utah, and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, would run as pro-life candidates as well.

The eventual nominee will face pro-abortion President Barack Obama, who has an extensive pro-abortion record.