In 2016, White Evangelicals were Donald Trump’s most supportive base. It’s not surprising. Since the Reagan era, “Christian” and “republican” have been nearly synonymous.
Fast-forward to 2020. There are still the evangelical voters who are passionately loyal to the President in spite of his less-than-morally-upright behavior, language and attitude. That’s the base that Trump was appealing to when he said Joe Biden wants to hurt God and take away your guns — the base that thinks God and guns are somehow inextricable.
However, there is another group of voters who acknowledge that Trump is not morally commendable; they even think he’s vile and corrupt. But they’ll still vote for him for one reason: They are pro-life.
If that’s you, I’m not going to tell you not to be pro-life. I won’t argue that fetuses aren’t a life or that their value doesn’t count. I want to level with you. I want you to see that being pro-life is not a good reason to reelect Donald Trump; in fact, being pro-life is a great reason not to vote for him.
Access to healthcare
The CDC’s 2016 Abortion Surveillance report, (the latest research from the center regarding abortion), shows that the rate of abortions has decreased every single year since 2008. One of the major influences on abortions occurring? Lack of access to healthcare and contraception. Furthermore, the CDC suggests that offering readily available contraception would reduce the number of abortions.
According to a 2017 study done by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, when the young adult provision of the Affordable Care Act was enacted, allowing Americans to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26, the rate of abortions among women in that age group fell about ten percent. Additionally, the 2010 Census showed that only 48 percent of Black Americans had private insurance — this points to an undeniable correlation to the fact that Black women have the highest rate of abortions, according to the CDC.
Thus, policies that expand access to healthcare would theoretically be the pro-life preference. More healthcare access not only protects the 60,000 Americans who die due to lack of health insurance each year, but it also leads to fewer unwanted or unsafe pregnancies and fewer abortions.
It’s a gamble
The chances of abortion laws changing much under another Trump term are not as solid as some voters may think.
Single-issue voters would argue that the chance at the President appointing another Supreme Court Justice makes voting for him worth it. But the jump from a second Trump term to abortions being eliminated is a long one.
First, although it’s likely, there’s no guarantee that Trump will get another Supreme Court justice appointment. If he does, there’s also no guarantee that the legality of Roe v. Wade will make it to the Supreme Court again. Then, there’s still no guarantee that a heavily conservative set of justices would vote to overturn it.
And even if all those things happen, overturning Roe would not make abortion illegal. There is a huge lack of nuance in voting solely on abortion because overturning Roe is nothing like a lightswitch decision to abortion being illegal. It would simply make it legal for states to pass restrictive abortion laws. To put it simply, it would still be up to the states.
If Trump is elected, there is no guarantee that abortion legality will be changed at all. And there’s so much at risk for the long-shot at changing abortion laws in a drastic way. In fact, one of the risks of a Trump presidency is actually more abortions. The administration recently enacted a regulation allowing employers to opt out of birth control coverage in healthcare plans for any religious or moral objections. Aside from the fact that lack of birth control can be dangerous, even potentially fatal, for women who need it, less access to birth control also means more unwanted pregnancies, and more abortions. This surely complicates the single-issue mindset of pro-life voters — is it worth it to risk more abortions for the chance at fewer abortions?
Life at other stages is threatened
While the life of the unborn is weighed in one hand, there is life at every single other stage that hangs in the balance as well.
Take the life of the 1500 migrant children that the administration lost track of.
Or the lives of black women who die in childbirth at an alarmingly disproportionate rate.
What about the lives lost to gun violence? Or those who die because they can’t afford their prescriptions?
Think of the lives lost to police violence and the Black and brown Americans who face racial injustice at every turn.
Think also of the lives of women who will die getting illegal, unsafe abortions. Those lives count, too.
The President recently signed an executive order that would slash funding for social security and Medicaid, on which 75 million vulnerable Americans depend.
That’s a lot of life to put at risk during another Trump term.
I don’t think that people shouldn’t be pro-life. I think everyone should value every life. And I think Donald Trump is the weakest advocate for life — even when it comes to abortion. Progressive, people-focused policies lead to fewer abortions. Pro-life voters should favor policies that will reduce abortions by providing economic and social flourishing, instead of putting all their eggs in the overturning-Roe basket and sacrificing the value of life at other stages.