Few issues divide Americans the way the debate over abortion right does. The contentious dispute is very likely to get worse before it gets better.
Not only have Republicans pushed the Supreme Court to the right, making it easy to imagine the demise of the Roe v. Wade precedent, but the political fight continues to intensify. Just this week, voters in West Virginia approved a ballot measure banning abortion just as soon as the Supreme Court allows for such a ban, while voters in Alabama passed a “fetal personhood” policy extending legal rights to “unborn life.”
Neither measure has the force of law, at least not yet, but they’re not just symbolic efforts, either. In effect, West Virginia and Alabama took steps to prepare for a post-Roe landscape.
It’s against this backdrop that someone at yesterday’s White House press conference asked Donald Trump about his efforts to “defend the rights of unborn children.”
Q: How are you going to push forward your pro-life agenda?
TRUMP: Just going to push. I’ve been pushing. I’ve done a very good job, too. Very happy with me. But it’s a tough issue for the two sides. There’s no question about it.
Q: But what are you going to do to –
TRUMP: There is great division – what am I going to do? I won’t be able to explain that to you, because it is an issue that is a very divisive, polarizing issue. But there is a solution. I think I have that solution, and nobody else does.
Really? After generations of debate over reproductive freedoms, Trump believes he’s the president who’s uncovered a “solution” that no one else has come up with? And he just happened to blurt this out in response to a question at a press conference?
I suppose anything’s possible, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and argue that he’s making this up.
Part of the problem is that there is no way to fully resolve the debate. But the other part of this is the nagging realization that Trump’s secret plans never seem to pan out.
As a candidate, for example, Trump assured voters he had a secret plan to defeat ISIS, which he’d only share after the election. It turned out to be a rather weak con: once in office, the president asked U.S. military leaders to come with a plan for him, and they came back with a strategy that looks an awful lot like Barack Obama’s plan.
A few months after taking office, the president suggested he also had a secret plan to resolve the fight with North Korea. That doesn’t appear to be working out especially well, either.
Now Trump has a secret solution to the abortion debate? I’d recommend keeping expectations low.