Since he’s become the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, pro-life voters are starting to move in Donald Trump’s direction. But many pro-life voters and some pro-life leaders remain skeptical about supporting Trump against pro-abortion Hillary Clinton.
To gain a better understanding and insight on his abortion views and to potential be able to endorse his candidacy, a group of top pro-life leaders plan to meet with Trump in the coming weeks.
Former presidential candidate Ben Carson is working with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and Bill Dallas, who leads United in Purpose, to plan a closed-door session for about 400 social conservative leaders to meet with Trump in the coming weeks in New York City. A broader steering group of about 20 people includes people like American Values president Gary Bauer, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, and Family Leader president Bob Vander Plaats.
“We are looking for a way forward,” Perkins says. “The main thing here is this is to have a conversation.” He described the planned meeting as “a starting point for many.” The Trump campaign has not publicly confirmed that the meeting will take place.
For many of the expected attendees at the event, Trump was not their first choice as a presidential candidates. With the exception of Carson, who has endorsed Trump, the event organizers were not supportive of Trump in the primary, says Perkins, who supported Sen. Ted Cruz. The event is expected to be a closed-door interactive forum for attendees to ask questions of the candidate, likely in an interview format, not prepared speeches. This event is also not intended to focus on rolling out endorsements. “I don’t even know what it will lead to,” Perkins says. “It is just to have an honest conversation so that these leaders know what they need to do.”
Trump campaign surrogates are separately organizing a more official faith advisory committee for the candidate, with Mike Huckabee being discussed as a possible national chairman. Televangelist Paula White, a Trump supporter and a senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, have been organizing the group behind-the-scenes with Tim Clinton, president of the 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors, according to several people familiar with the project.
Trump’s team meanwhile announced Wednesday that he would send a video message to a conference of Latino evangelical leaders this weekend in Anaheim, organized by Samuel Rodriguez Jr., the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.
Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Ben Carson is working to reassure pro-life voters that Trump is sufficiently pro-life to support against Clinton, who has the endorsement of the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
“Donald Trump is pro-life,” Carson says of these types of concerns. “Now he might not be quite as pro-life as I am, but he definitely believes in the sanctity of life, does not believe in abortion on demand. That is a misconception that people have.”
Recently, Trump released a well-received list of 11 potential Supreme Court nominees — a list pro-life groups hailed for having strong supporters of the Constitution. Trump also recently hired a key pro-life advocate has his domestic policy director.
If Trump is the nominee, he would present a stark contrast on abortion to pro-abortion Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Trump has specifically promised he would sign a bill as president to de-fund Planned Parenthood. In an interview with David Brody of CBN, Trump made that promise:
David Brody: “As a President Trump, if a bill came to your desk that would defund Planned Parenthood you would support that, you would sign that?”
Donald Trump: “Yes, because as long as they do the abortion I am not for funding Planned Parenthood… As long as they’re involved with abortion, as far as I’m concerned forget it, I wouldn’t fund them regardless. I would defund Planned Parenthood because of their view and the fact of their work on abortion…. I am for defunding Planned Parenthood as long as they are involved with abortion.”
As far as Trump’s comments on Planned Parenthood funding are concerned, Trump has fairly consistently said he opposes taxpayer funding but he’s also made some remarks about the “good things” Planned Parenthood does that have alarmed pro-life voters — as if any “good thing” could make up for the fact that planned Parenthood kills 330,000 unborn babies a year in abortions and then sells their body parts for profit.
Meanwhile, Trump said he thinks the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that ushered in an era of 48 million abortions was “wrongly decided.” Trump said he would appoint “very good judges” who would ultimately “change it” but he opposed Roe without specifically saying it should be overturned.
Here are some of the headlines we’ve carried at LifeNews.com in recent months that provide further details on what Trump has said regarding Planned Parenthood funding: