During a town-hall meeting in South Carolina Wednesday, Donald Trump was asked directly if he is pro-life.
“I’m pro-life,” Trump said. “Yeah.”
“Who in here is pro-life?” Trump said, indicating that he was looking for a show of hands from the audience. “Yeah, OK, good, no, I’m pro-life.”
Trump then said that his GOP rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is lying about his position on abortion.
“You can’t lie about people like that, it’s just incredible,” Trump said.
Trump’s claim that he is pro-life is a reversal from his previous position on the issue of abortion.
During a 1999 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump said that he is “pro-choice in every respect” and said that a President Trump administration would not work to implement a ban on partial-birth abortion.
“I’m very pro-choice,” he said at the time.
During the GOP debate Saturday, Trump defended taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, by arguing that the organization “does do wonderful things but not as it relates to abortion.”
“There are wonderful things having to do with women’s health,” he added.
Trump says he has “evolved” on abortion, but many pro-life activists find the details surrounding his conversion murky and object to his defense of taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, especially in light of allegations that the organization is trafficking aborted fetal body parts, a claim its spokespersons have denied.
Last week, a coalition of pro-life women, including lawmakers and leaders of South Carolina and national pro-life groups, wrote an open letter to Palmetto State voters urging them to support “anyone but Donald Trump" in the Feb. 20 primary.
“On the issue of defending unborn children and protecting women from the violence of abortion, Mr. Trump cannot be trusted and there is, thankfully, an abundance of alternative candidates with proven records of pro-life leadership whom pro-life voters can support,” they wrote. “We have come to this conclusion after having listened patiently to numerous debates and news reports, but most importantly to Donald Trump’s own words.”
“America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women,” they added. “We cannot trust Donald Trump to do either. Therefore, we urge our fellow citizens to support an alternative candidate.”
The signatories included Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, Concerned Women for America President and CEO Penny Nance and Melissa Ohden, an abortion survivor and a pro-life activist and speaker.
In January, a similar coalition wrote another open letter urging Iowans to support “anyone but Trump” in their caucus.
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