Donald Trump told anti-choice leaders he is “committed” to ensuring the Hyde Amendment’s ban on federal funding for abortion care becomes permanent in a letter calling on them to join a new “Pro-Life Coalition” in support of his presidential campaign.
“As we head into the final stretch of the campaign, the help of leaders like you is essential to ensure that pro-life voters know where I stand, and also know where my opponent, Hillary Clinton, stands,” Trump wrote in a letter announcing the coalition.
“Your help is crucial to make this contrast clear in the minds of pro-life voters, especially those in battleground states,” the Republican nominee continued. “Together we can form this vital coalition so that Mike Pence and I can be advocates for the unborn and their mothers every day we are in the White House.”
The group will be led by Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of anti-choice group Susan B. Anthony List. Other co-chairs will be announced later this month. The coalition will include national and state-level members who will “will write op-eds, act as surrogates, recruit volunteers, and various other activities to support the Trump-Pence ticket,” according to a press release.
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Trump’s letter outlined the anti-choice policies he is “committed to” should he be elected, which include nominating “pro-life justices” to the Supreme Court, signing into law the medically and scientifically dubious “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” in order to enact a nationwide ban on later abortions, defunding Planned Parenthood, and making the Hyde Amendment permanent.
The Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for abortion care through annual budget appropriations for the Department of Health and Human Services. Congress every year must vote on the ban, which disproportionately impacts those with low incomes and people of color.
The 2016 Republican Party platform calls “for codification of the Hyde Amendment and its application across the government, including Obamacare. We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.”
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton opposes the Hyde Amendment, and this year the Democratic Party platform for the first time included a call to end the ban on federal funding for abortion.
Dannenfelser praised Trump in a statement for reiterating his anti-choice stance.
“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,” Dannenfelser said.
Anti-choice activists spent much of the 2016 election cycle questioning Trump’s commitment to ending legal abortion given his shifting views on the topic. Dannenfelser was one of ten anti-choice activists to sign a January letter encouraging those who oppose abortion rights to “support anyone but Donald Trump” because the candidate could not be trusted to “defend both unborn children and the dignity of women.”
The announcement of Trump’s anti-choice coalition comes a week after the Republican candidate completely ignored abortion while speaking at the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., leaving his running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) to make the case that the GOP ticket would work to end legal abortion.