Face It: Donald Trump Is Right about Abortion!

Trump Abortion

Let me get this straight. Republicans in general argue that abortion is MURDER. Isn’t that so?

In fact, don’t Tea Party extremists sometimes rationalize attacking and even killing abortion providers because the latter are murderers pure and simple? Or have I been somehow misreading those pro-life posters along Interstate 75?  “ABORTION IS MURDER,” the signs announce all the way to Florida.

Yet, when Donald Trump argues that such criminality should be punished in the usual ways, the entire Republican establishment is suddenly shocked and appalled.  Of course (they’re now saying) abortion shouldn’t be treated as murder. Who could possibly make such an insensitive misogynist argument?

Say what? Am I hearing that correctly? Or is there an acoustical problem in here?  Doesn’t all of that sound suspiciously “pro-choice?”  Have Republicans suddenly found Feminist Religion?

To give my questions a finer point: Donald Trump seems merely to be drawing the logical conclusion from the continuously reiterated Republican position on abortion. Though no one (not even The Donald) is crazy enough to say it like this, the argument’s syllogism runs as follows: (1) Abortion is murder, (2).But all murders are capital crimes;  deserving capital punishment; (3) Therefore abortion should be punished by execution or life imprisonment.

Though an inevitable conclusion from the standard Republican position, such logic is scary as hell. So even crazies like Ted Cruz are running away from it.

What is the justification for the Establishment’s sudden shift?

Here’s why: the Republican Party leadership doesn’t want Donald Trump to be the GOP standard bearer next fall. He’s not electable, they think. And he’s not orthodox enough on signature Tea Party issues like well . . . abortion. (Historically, he has waffled on the topic.) So they’ll do anything to prevent his advance – even if it means fudging on one of their signature positions. They evidently hope no one will notice the hypocrisy.

However, the fact that no Republican (except for Mr. Trump) is daring or logical enough to say out loud what Republicans have insinuated all along tells us that something is drastically wrong with not with The Donald, but with the “pro-life” position itself.

In Logic the sequence is called a reductio ad absurdum – a method of proving the falsity of an argument (for instance that abortion is murder) by demonstrating that its conclusion is absurd or untenable.

In other words, when you put words to it and draw the logical conclusion, the contention of the pro-lifers that abortion is murder sounds absolutely crazy to everyone.  Few in the electorate – especially women — will support it. Case closed.

In theology, we call such agreement the “sensus fidelium.” It refers to people’s conclusions about matters of faith and morals (such as abortion) based on common sense rather than the arguments of the experts. Catholic doctrine regards such agreement as infallible.

So Mr. Trump has done it again. Until his arrival, the electorate simply hasn’t heard the absurdity of Republican positions expressed so clearly.

As with other matters (immigration, racism, free speech, torture) Donald Trump in no way deviates from standard Republican craziness. His sin (and contribution) is to expose its absolute insanity for all to see.

Thank God for Donald Trump’s logic and candor! Somehow he’s a better thinker than many of us thought.

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 40 years. Three grown children. Four grandchildren.

5 thoughts on “Face It: Donald Trump Is Right about Abortion!”

  1. Dear Professor, I recommend you read “Beyond The Abortion Wars, a way forward for a new generation” by Charles C. Camosy. It might help you understand the nuances of the pro-life position and both the secular and theological basis for a pro-life consistent life ethic. Your radical pro-choice position is neither supported by a majority of Americans or a substantial number of Demcrats, one-third of which are pro-life. If you want, I will mail you a copy of the book, just email me your address. Best wishes, Janet Robert, President, Democrats for Life of America

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    1. Janet, I’m afraid I’ve led you to misinterpret my intention in writing that article. My position is not at all “radically pro-choice.” I’ve tried to clarify that in my most recent post (4/16/16). Please check it out. I’m interested in your response. BTW I liked the Democrats for Life in America website.

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  2. Is anyone “right” about abortion? Abortion is a tremendously charged, heated irrational/emotional issue (like most everything connected to gender and sexuality).

    Trump is a pragmatic person, not strictly “left” or “right”, not strictly “Democrat” or “Republican”. As Trump noted in a recent discussion about abortion: No matter what you say about abortion, about 50% of your listeners will *hate* you for it. Even Clinton has gotten into hot water recently because she used the word “person” to describe a fetus.

    As with war, homelessness, healthcare, educationand so many other problems, the discussion about abortion will be framed very differently when the questions are posed by people who actually want to reduce harm (instead of by people who are primarily virtue-signalling).

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/10/i-invented-virtue-signalling-now-its-taking-over-the-world/

    Love that phrase, “virtue signalling”. The Guardian has tried to claim that the phrase is passe, but that can’t be true because “virtue signalling” describes an ubiquitous, perennial problem across the social spectrum: where people are interesting in showing that they are *good*, and less concerned about resolving a complex ethical problem while acknowledging physical reality

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