Sun. May 19th, 2024

Mulvaney: Trump is correct, authority over abortion should be returned to the states

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May12,2024

What Donald Trump said about abortion last week has many Republicans pulling their hair out.

“My view is now that we have abortion where everybody wanted it from a legal standpoint,” he said. “The states will determine by vote or legislation or perhaps both, and whatever they decide must be the law of the land. In this case, the law of the state.”

Judging by the response of many on the right, you would have thought he was calling for more federal support for Planned Parenthood.

The president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a leading pro-life voice, declared that she was “disappointed” with the statement. She added that “[u]nborn children and their mothers deserve national protections and national advocacy from the brutality of the abortion industry.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was more blunt: “The states’ rights only rationale today runs contrary to an American consensus … and will age about as well as the Dred Scott decision.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence bemoaned that the statement was a “slap in the face to the millions of pro-life Americans who voted for him in 2016 and 2020.”

I’ve worked with SBA on-and-off since I got to Washington. Lindsey Graham is my senator and we are close. I served with Mike Pence, both in the House and the White House, and our team helped build arguably the strongest pro-life administration in history. I have great respect for all of those people generally, and most especially on the issue of protecting human life.

But I am also one of the “millions of pro-life Americans who voted for” Trump in 2016 and 2020. And I certainly don’t feel slapped in the face. 

I honestly don’t know what all the hubbub is about. After all, giving authority over abortion to the states has been Republican orthodoxy for nearly five decades. Indeed, it has been a prominent weapon for exposing the failings of Roe v. Wade for two generations.

Judicial Watch recently suggested that the Supreme Court “should overturn Roe…and return abortion regulation to the States where it began, and where it belongs.”

The Christian Legal Society commented that Roe “profoundly departs from our deep-seated history of federalism,” and that abortion “concerns matters of health care and family law traditionally left to the states.”

A group of 12 Republican governors has decried that the court’s abortions rulings before Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization “are prime examples of invading an area that has not been committed to the federal government and remains reserved to the states.”

Their statements about returning abortion to the states weren’t made in a vacuum, either, nor at some pro-life conference or GOP fundraiser. Rather, I am referring the amicus briefs that these groups submitted to the Supreme Court as part of the arguments in the Dobbs decision.

All of these leading voices, both inside and outside of government, have made strong statements about federalism on the issue of abortion, and they are all correct.

Even the Susan B. Anthony List, which is now attacking Trump’s position, argued in its brief on Dobbs that the court “can and should show greater deference to the outcomes of state legislative processes.”

So, help me out here: Isn’t Donald Trump saying the exact same thing now that many of the leading voices in the pro-life movement said as part of the Dobbs debate? Isn’t he saying the same thing that pro-life conservatives have been saying since 1973?

Don’t misunderstand me: I would very much like for abortion to be illegal everywhere. And as someone who believes that life begins at conception, even the typical exceptions contained in abortion laws create serious moral conundrums.

But I am also a conservative, who recognizes that we live in a constitutional republic. There are certain rules to how we are governed that are sacrosanct. One of those rules is that the federal government is strictly limited in what it can regulate.

We should not — indeed, we cannot — ignore that, no matter how much we want to protect the unborn.

Let’s say Republicans go into this election cycle clamoring for a federal law limiting abortion. What, then, will our argument be if we lose that election and Congress passes a federal law guaranteeing abortion-on-demand during all nine months of pregnancy, precisely as Democrats have promised to do?

My bigger concern is that many Republicans are now so quick to reject Trump’s statement because they worry that, having won the battle to move the abortion issue to the states, we cannot win at the state level. Just as liberals could not get their way legislatively on abortion in the 1970s and turned to the federal judiciary, Republicans would now be counting on Washington to bail them out of the 50 battles they need to be fighting.

The executive director of another pro-life group said that “when (Trump) made that statement … I nearly spit out my water… It is certainly not consistent with the behavior of his fellow conservatives across the country.”

Yes, it is. Or at least it was, right up until last week. 

Mick Mulvaney, a former congressman from South Carolina, is a contributor to NewsNation. He served as director of the Office of Management and Budget, acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and White House chief of staff under President Donald Trump.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Mulvaney: Trump is correct, authority over abortion should be returned to the states”
  1. In my opinion, Trump is absolutely right about giving authority over abortion back to the states. The decision should be made at the state level, reflecting the will of the people. It’s disappointing to see reactions to his statement, as national protections for the unborn children are crucial to uphold.

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