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Tags: National Debt | Paul Ryan | funding | roe | schumer

President Embraces Gift of Life Confounding Critics

President Embraces Gift of Life Confounding Critics
On Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, President Trump spoke to March for Life participants from the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Evan Vucci/AP)

By    |   Monday, 22 January 2018 12:05 PM

It's been one year since the beginning of the presidency of Donald J. Trump. His detractors are still baffled. How could a man with no experience in government, who had experienced both dramatic business successes and failures, and who was, essentially, a reality TV star, been elected president of the most powerful country on Earth?

For those supporting him, it was no surprise, since the things Mr. Trump ran on: restoring the rule of law and the sovereignty of the people, reducing the influence of the Leviathan federal government, controlling immigration, and rolling back excessive regulation and taxation — reversing almost everything the Obama administration had done and Mrs. Clinton promised to continue — were things appealing to the majority of Americans in most of the nation. 

We were reminded of one more aspect of Mr. Trump’s appeal on Jan. 19. This time at an event almost lost sight of because of the brouhaha over the government shutdown.

These were the remarks Mr. Trump delivered at the annual March for Life, when he addressed the crowd estimated at more than 100,000 who turned out in the annual exercise to protest the Supreme Court’s questionable decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113.

In that case, in 1973, seven justices somehow found within the Constitution a right to terminate pregnancies before fetal viability, and, indeed, in subsequent decisions, virtually at any time before birth. To this date, there is no constitutional theorist who can explain that this right was anything but an act of judicial legislation. It was a decision not authorized, much less required, by the Constitution.

The marchers, realizing this, and believing that instead of allowing a right to terminate pregnancies, the Constitution ought more properly to be read as protecting fetal life (as the Constitution protects all human life) believe that it is important to demonstrate their support for the notion that all human life is sacred and ought to be cherished.

President Donald Trump has not always held to those beliefs, but by the time he ran for the presidency he had become an advocate of right to life. This past Friday he became the first sitting president to televise a message live from the Oval Office, in support of the marchers. In a remarkable speech, Mr. Trump reaffirmed the beliefs that may well have significantly factored into his victory of November, 2016.

The president clearly declared, "The March for Life is a movement born out of love . . . and you love every child born and unborn, because you believe that every life is sacred, that every child is a precious gift from God."

For a president accused by his critics of lacking principle, this was an extraordinary commitment, one the president amplified by declaring, "Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the 'right to life.'"

The president underscored that his administration was fully committed to the views of the marchers. In the course of his remarks he made clear that he was, as is U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., (also affirmed at the march) a "pro-life president."

What this meant for Mr. Trump was a reaffirmation of the Founders’ creed that our republic was based not only on law but also on morality, religion, and a reverence for what the president called "the gift of life itself." In the closing words of his speech he declared, "that is why we March, that is why we pray, and that is why we declare that America’s future will be filled with goodness, peace, joy, dignity, and life for every child of God."

President Trump’s touching remarks to the marchers passed almost without notice by the major media, which is still dominated by his opponents. This past weekend, most of the press was more concerned with finding lacunae in Mr. Trump’s physician’s report that he was in top physical and mental health, with covering the other marches protesting the anniversary of the president’s inauguration, and with blaming the president for the failure timely to prevent the shutdown of the federal government.

That last was a development that the president nicely and alliteratively called the "Schumer shutdown," since Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., were actually the ones preventing funding from passing through their use of the Senate filibuster. Perhaps the Democrats thought by frustrating funding they could blame the Republicans, and Mr. Trump in particular, a partisan strategy that had worked for them in the past.

If, however, his critics still don’t understand the president’s real and passionate appeal to many Americans clearly evident in his speech to the marchers for life, they may eventually find themselves once again facing disappointment and defeat.

Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.


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If his critics still don’t understand the president’s real and passionate appeal to many Americans clearly evident in his speech to the marchers for life, they may eventually find themselves once again facing disappointment and defeat.
funding, roe, schumer
Monday, 22 January 2018 12:05 PM
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