In a letter released Friday by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Republican nominee made a number of policy commitments to the pro-life community, including a pledge to make the Hyde Amendment permanent law.
Trump, who was criticized for a 1999 interview in which he described himself as “very pro-choice,” wrote he is “committed to:”
- Nominate pro-life Supreme Court justices;
- Signing into law a ban on late-term abortions, called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act;
- Defunding Planned Parenthood “as long as they continue to perform abortions” and reallocating their funding to other health clinics;
- Making the Hyde Amendment — which prevent taxpayer-Medicaid dollars from funding abortions except in the case of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk — permanent law.
In a major step to reach out to pro-life voters, the letter announced the creation of Trump’s new pro-life coalition, which is to be chaired by Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life advocacy group Susan B. Anthony List.
In a statement, Dannenfelser said:
“Not only has Mr. Trump doubled down on his three existing commitments to the pro-life movement, he has gone a step further in pledging to protect the Hyde Amendment and the conscience rights of millions of pro-life taxpayers.
“For a candidate to make additional commitments during a general election is almost unheard of. The contrast could not be clearer between the two tickets.”
Danenfelser’s coalition co-chairs will be announced later this month.
While Trump intends to bolster the Hyde Amendment, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has pledged to overturn it.
The Hyde Amendment is peculiar in that it must be passed every year by Congress because it is not a formal law, but an amendment to annual appropriations bills.
The intention of the amendment is overwhelmingly popular. A January 2015 Marist poll found that American voters opposed the public funding of abortion by a 40-point margin: 68% opposed while 28% favored.
“He is fully committed to Hillary Clinton’s policy agenda, which he understands includes repeal of Hyde.”
Later this month, Clinton and Trump face off in the first of three general election debates. Traditionally, the first debate covers domestic issues, putting the two candidates’ abortion policies on the table for the American people to consider.