by Marty Dannenfelser
Some have made the argument that Donald Trump and Mike Pence won’t move life, marriage, and religious liberty issues beyond the status quo.
Well, I think we can be certain that Hillary Clinton will change the status quo. For the past 40 years, the status quo has been that the federal government does not pay for elective abortions. Clinton, however, is committed to repeal of the Hyde Amendment and other government limitations on abortion funding. She is also opposed to the ban on partial-birth abortion, or any limitation on abortion at any stage of pregnancy, for any reason.
For many years, the status quo has been conscience protections for medical personnel and medical students who object to participating in the performance of abortions. Religious hospitals have also been protected from having to perform elective abortions in their facilities. Clinton, however, believes that religions are going to have to change to accommodate things she deems to be rights, such as abortion. People will no longer be allowed to assert religious beliefs to justify ‘discrimination’ — despite the fact that Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law to protect the exercise of such beliefs.
For thousands of years, marriage was recognized as the union of one man and one woman — and Hillary Clinton expressed support for that position. However, if a photographer or wedding planner declines to be actively involved in a same-sex wedding ceremony due to his or her religious beliefs, does anyone believe that Clinton will support the exercise of such religious beliefs? Will the judges she appoints support the right of conscience in such circumstances, or will they have a litmus test to reach the opposite conclusion?
Trump has publicly committed to appoint pro-life judges, to sign legislation that limits late-term abortions, to make the Hyde Amendment permanent, and to defund an organization that performs more than 300,000 elective abortions per year (Planned Parenthood). We cannot be 100 percent certain that he will keep all of these commitments. But we do have a basis by which to hold him accountable, and Congress will have a strong basis to oppose him if he wavers from these commitments. Clinton, by contrast, has publicly committed to all the opposite positions, and we can be certain that she will resist any efforts by Congress to restrict her agenda.
I did not support Trump for the nomination when there were better choices. Now, however, there are two choices, and the differences on life, marriage and religious liberty are stark. The babies whose lives will be snuffed out and the people whose religious liberty will be trampled will not be comforted by the fact that some voters were able to avoid an uncomfortable choice. It is unfortunate that we have to choose between two ethically challenged people to serve in the highest office in the land. Life is full of tough choices, but for those who believe that the sanctity of human life and the free exercise of religion are of paramount importance, the choice seems pretty clear.
Marty Dannenfelser is a former congressional staff member living in Northern Virginia.