WASHINGTON — Concerns are being raised as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been silent about Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a Texas abortion law as being an “undue burden on abortion access.”
As previously reported, the court issued its 5-3 decision on Monday, stating that the Texas regulations, which require abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and keep their facilities up to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, are unconstitutional.
“We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority. “Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the federal Constitution.”
Following the issuance of the ruling, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton praised the decision as being a victory for abortion advocates.
“SCOTUS’s decision is a victory for women in Texas and across America. Safe abortion should be a right—not just on paper, but in reality,” she Tweeted.
Clinton followed with, “This fight isn’t over: The next president has to protect women’s health. Women won’t be ‘punished’ for exercising their basic rights.”
But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump posted about himself around the same time, and issued no further statements on Twitter on Monday.
“@CNN is all negative when it comes to me. I don’t watch it anymore,” he wrote.
His silence on the matter caused some to be concerned, since Americans who support Trump have looked to him to help overturn Roe v. Wade.
“The man who is supposed to represent the values of the Republican Party as their nominee, Donald Trump, should have plenty to say on today’s abortion ruling. It is, after all, a bigger sign that he is supposedly the cure-all to a liberal Supreme Court. But, alas, Donald Trump has no opinion on today’s ruling,” wrote Joe Cunningham of RedState.
“Dubbed a recent convert to Christianity by evangelical leaders, Trump has worked to build in-roads into the Christian community. They should, in turn, expect him to condemn the ruling,” he said. “After all, it took mere minutes for Hillary Clinton to praise the killing of the innocent as a Constitutional right everyone should have access to, and Trump is as prolific on social media as they come. Surely, he should have something to say. But he doesn’t.”
While Trump publicly remained silent on the ruling, his evangelical advisory board issued a statement touting Trump as the pro-life choice for Americans. The board includes Texas prosperity preacher Kenneth Copeland, David Jeremiah of Shadow Mountain Community Church in California, Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, Jentezen Franklin of Free Chapel in Georgia, James Robison of the Texas-based LIFE Outreach International and Tim Clinton of the Virginia-based American Association of Christian Counselors.
“In an unprecedented meeting last week with American Christian leaders, Donald J. Trump promised to only appoint pro-life justices,” the statement read. “We commend him and pray that the tragedy of today’s ruling will not be repeated in subsequent administrations.”
As previously reported, in April, Trump told reporters in regard to abortion that he believes that “at this moment, the laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way.”
“Well, first of all, I would’ve preferred states’ rights,” he told CBS News’ John Dickerson. “I think it would’ve been better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set. And that’s the way the laws are.”
“But do you have a feeling on how they should change?” Dickerson asked. “There are a lot of laws you wan to change. You’ve talked about them—everything from libel to abortion. Anything you’d want to change on abortion?”
“At this moment, the laws are set. And I think we have to leave it that way,” Trump replied.
“Do you think it’s murder—abortion?” Dickerson then inquired.
“I have my opinions on it, but I’d rather not comment on it,” Trump replied.
“You said you were very pro-life,” Dickerson stated. “Pro-life means that abortion is murder.”
“I mean, I do have my opinions on it,” Trump replied. “I just don’t think it’s an appropriate forum.”
His campaign later released a statement asserting that what Trump really meant was that abortion laws need to stay the same until he is elected.
“Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now—until he is president,” spokesperson Hope Hicks told reporters. “Then he will change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn.”
Trump has stated that he identifies as pro-life, but would like the Republican party to change its platform to allow for abortion exceptions.
“The Republican platform, every four years, has a provision that states that the right of the unborn child shall not be infringed. And it makes no exceptions for rape, for incest, for the life of the mother. Would you want to change the Republican platform to include the exceptions that you have?” asked Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show in April.
“Yes, I would,” Trump replied. “Yes, I would. Absolutely. For the three exceptions, I would.”
“Would you have an exception for the health of the mother?” Guthrie inquired.
“I would leave it for the life of the mother,” Trump responded, “but I would absolutely have the three exceptions.”
The current Republican platform reads in part, “Faithful to the ‘self-evident’ truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”