by Cathy Ruse
November 14, 2016
Pro-lifers can always find deficiencies in arguments. We’re programmed that way.
At first blush, Donald Trump’s responses to the abortion questions in the third presidential debate, while good, left something to be desired.
Upon reflection, I find real wisdom in what he said and how he said it.
First, Donald Trump coupled overturning Roe v. Wade with the point that the issue will go back to the states. This was very wise. He did it twice, in fact. “If they overturned it, it will go back to the states.” Then when pressed by Wallace, he said: “I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this: It will go back to the states, and the states will then make a determination.” This is exactly how pro-lifers should handle the question of overturning Roe.
The Left wants people to believe that something drastic and immediate will happen if Roe is overturned, to scare them. The truth is that nothing drastic or immediate will happen; rather, the work of abortion policy-making will be returned to the people in each state. There is no benefit from allowing the Left to frighten ill-informed people. There is great benefit from telling them the truth.
Moreover, telling people that abortion policy-making will be returned to their hands is a powerful and truthful way of challenging the Left’s narrative that Roe is a “right” for the people and that “right” will be taken away if Roe is overturned. The truth is, the Supreme Court disenfranchised the people when it took the abortion issue out of our hands in 1973. It took away our right to govern ourselves on this vitally important matter. Roe is anti-democratic as well as anti-constitutional. When Roe is corrected, the right of the people to govern ourselves will be restored.
Second, Trump’s plainspoken response to the late-term abortion question was downright brilliant. Hillary Clinton had just finished giving a wall of words about “Roe v. Wade” and “regulations” and “health of the mother.” Hillary never mentioned the baby. She took pains to avoid mentioning the baby. And certainly she avoided anything that would suggest what an abortion does to a baby. She spoke in soothing platitudes, leaving her audience unmoved.
By contrast, Donald Trump mentioned the baby three times in one sentence. And with an economy of words, he gave a vivid description of a late-term abortion: “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby.”
Having torn back the veil, he quickly moved to his conclusion: “Now, you can say that that’s OK and Hillary can say that that’s OK. But it’s not OK with me.”
That put the question to the viewer: Is it okay with you? That’s a powerful ending.