It also helped that key members of the pro-life movement joined the Trump administration. They included Charmaine Yoest, the former president of Americans United for Life, who served as assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services; senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway; and, of course, Vice President Mike Pence. Whether or not they recognized Mr. Trump’s character flaws, they saw the value in being able to advance a pro-life agenda.
That kind of nuance, however, may be lost on the American public. Mr. Trump was the one signing pro-life laws and executive orders, and that image—now more tarnished than ever, following his encouragement of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters refusing to accept the result of last year’s presidential election—carries a huge risk. If Mr. Trump is seen as the face of the pro-life movement in the United States, we will have scored a goal against ourselves. His sexist insults, contempt for disabled individuals and history of racism are at odds with the fundamental principles of the pro-life movement. We cannot claim to care about women facing crisis pregnancies, defend the lives of disabled persons or combat the disproportionate impact of abortion on people of color if Mr. Trump is our poster boy. On whole-life issues, his record is abysmal; there are no better examples than his dismissive response to the Covid-19 pandemic and his barely noticed resumption of the federal death penalty.