Donald Trump thinks the right to privacy ends exactly where his politics begin

With the Iowa caucuses a week away, Donald Trump is making an effort to shore up his support among social conservatives who have a lot of reasons to be skeptical about his claims of devotion.

As part of that effort, his campaign published an op-ed under his name in the Washington Examiner on Saturday articulating his views on abortion. As has been the case with Trump’s platform more generally, it reads like a dumbed-down and simplified version of what Republicans have been saying for thirty years, making explicit what had previously been implicit in GOP presidential candidates’ platforms.

With respect to abortion and reproductive health more generally, that means going beyond simply arguing that Roe v Wade was wrongly decided and instead rejecting its very premise. As Trump’s ghostwriter wrote:

The Supreme Court in 1973 based its decision on imagining rights and liberties in the Constitution that are nowhere to be found. Even if we take the court at its word, that abortion is a matter of privacy, we should then extend the argument to the logical conclusion that private funds, then, should subsidize this choice rather than the half billion dollars given to abortion providers every year by Congress. Public funding of abortion providers is an insult to people of conscience at the least and an affront to good governance at best.

This is actually a really smart paragraph from whomever wrote Trump’s article — even if it’s implications are positively horrifying. It both rejects the concept of a right to privacy, which can very easily be found in the Constitution, and makes the Republican case for defunding Planned Parenthood plain.

Republican candidates and representatives often trip over themselves claiming that the federal government currently funds abortion, which it doesn’t. The Hyde Amendment’s made sure of that. But of course, that isn’t the issue for Republican voters. Since the federal government reimburses Planned Parenthood for the non-abortive services it provides Medicaid enrollees, federal funds are going to an organization that also happens to provide abortions. And since that money all goes onto the same balance sheet, those voters have little patience for an explanation as to how the accounting works.

That’s why when you ask anti-Planned Parenthood activists what gets them out of bed in the morning, abortion isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. Instead, it’s just one part of a larger framework that’s deeply worried about reproductive health, sexual freedom and gender equality more generally. Here’s Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society arguing that “even if Planned Parenthood didn’t perform one single abortion” they still shouldn’t receive any federal funding:

[iframe width=”100%” height=”166″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”no” src=”https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227654189&color=ff5500″]

Donald Trump has taken a good, long look at Republican politics and (correctly) concluded that the average Republican voter sees no difference between the federal government paying for abortions and the federal government reimbursing abortion providers for non-abortive services. He has also (correctly) concluded that the average Republican voter thinks that the right to privacy ends exactly where their politics begins.

He’s getting really good at this. I don’t see how Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush beats him at this point.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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  • Budjob

    emjayay,KaSICK,isn’t as moderate as he portrays himself to be.I know,because I live in Ohio,and have been exposed to some of his so called moderate governing.Just ask women,teachers unions,or,union members per se.He is a misrepresentation of the word moderate!

  • slavdude

    We’ll see if his refusal to participate in the upcoming debate (hosted on Fox by Megyn Kelly) will make any difference in his popularity.

  • JaneE

    It never ceased to amaze me that the party of “small government” and “individual responsibility” feels that it has a right to intrude into women’s lives and deny them the ability to make their own decisions. Just add women to the already long list of persons the GOP does not consider human beings.

  • 2karmanot

    Trump makes a good example of the need for abortion #irony snark

  • atalex

    I never cease to be amazed at the self-loathing women of the GOP. I assume Monica Miller cuts herself when left alone in her room over the shame and disgust she feels over being a woman.

  • emjayay

    Fortunately, the actual presidential election will not be at this point. A rather absurdly long road from here to there. Clinton could be running against Kasich.

  • emjayay

    Middle Eastern women for example often accept the severe limitations on them and wearing all kinds of coverups and serving men etc. How things work now is often accepted and defended for many reasons by many of the oppressed.

    Oh, and many millions of men, like many Asians and Norwegians, aren’t very hairy at all. Trust me on this.

  • Every now and then the mask comes off.

    Here’s Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society arguing that “even if Planned Parenthood didn’t perform one single abortion” they still shouldn’t receive any federal funding

    As the audio snippet notes, this prude basically wants to make ‘sex for recreation’ illegal, dangerous, and always risking a pregnancy. This is why abortion is the camel’s nose in the tent. The reality is nearly all of these self-described ‘pro-lifers’ (sic) are actually in fact forced-pregnancy advocates. They also oppose affordable healthcare, so really — this is all about sex and about controlling women through reproduction. In short, a paternalistic misogyny designed ultimately to re-subjugate women. It’s the only conclusion which takes this otherwise incoherent position and has it make any sense.

    Some of you may not be old enough to remember the term “women’s liberation”, often abbreviated as “women’s lib.” It was a big thing in the 1960s, along with the rest of the civil rights movement, and it sought to address the fundamental, institutional inequalities women faced. Abortion and reproductive freedoms was a piece of the puzzle, but so were many other pieces. Equal opportunity in education and employment (Title IX, for example). Equal pay. Heck, even an Equal Rights Amendment, which failed because it was one of the first major targets of the anti-woman regressionary movement. Indeed, among the arguments presented against the ERA was if there was a war and a draft reinstated, women might (gasp!) be forced to serve in combat — and we delicate flowers were prejudged to be incapable and to be needing big strong hairy male protection. Another is a familiar one to our T brothers and sisters: Bathrooms. They actually argued that the ERA would ban sex-segregated bathrooms, thereby putting women at increased risk of sexual assault.

    Tracing this backward though it’s clear the intent is to reimpose a deliberate second-class status on women. One way to do this is by limiting a young woman’s opportunities and to punish her severely if she steps out of line. And by that I mean, “Having the same sex life all young men are presumed to be allowed to have freely and indeed are praised for their virility if they do so.”

    Women like Miller now and Phyllis Schlafly a generation ago basically want to be the appointed Marthas in their vision of New Gilead. (ref: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’)

    2nd TLDR: They’re (1) anti-abortion, (2) anti-contraception, (3) oppose all women’s equality laws, and (4) adamantly opposed to any guarantee of access to healthcare, even for pregnant women and their children. Unavoidable conclusion is this is obviously intended to eliminate gender equality and re-subjugate women.

  • Stanley_Krute

    Even more: I don’t see how Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders beats him at this point.

  • emjayay

    I’ve never been clear about the federal money for Planned Parenthood. Is it just Medicaid bills for services being paid, or does it get grants for other general stuff? If it’s just paying for medical services, well, no doubt other doctors who do abortions also get paid by Medicaid not to mention your company health plan or ACA or other plan for medical services.

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