Trump Energizes Faith Community; Cites Anti-Abortion Progress

‘We are proudly defending the sanctity of life…’

(John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call) President Donald Trump on Wednesday warned a conservative audience that inaction at the ballot box will erode recent anti-abortion moves.

Republicans have been celebrating a number of state-level moves to restrict access to abortion, and are hopeful that a number of legal challenges will uphold those new laws. But Trump, who rode to the White House on a conservative movement, had a message for a Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington.

“This can all change very quickly,” he said. “The wrong person in office … can change it very quickly.”

He criticized a legal battle in Virginia over a law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — typically about six weeks into a pregnancy.

“That becomes an execution,” he said as some in the crowd jeered the Virginia law.

Restricting abortion access is a top issue for many conservative voters, with data compiled by the Pew Research Center showing 36% of Republicans want it legal in some or all cases and 59% of GOP voters surveyed wanting it made illegal in some or all cases. (Seventy-six% of Democrats, Pew found, think abortion should be legal in some or all cases, with 21% of that bloc calling for restrictions.)

Trump’s appearance at the conservative group’s conference came eight days after he formally announced his reelection campaign.

So far, the president has held campaign rallies in states and hit messages that helped him defeat Hillary Clinton in an Electoral College upset three years ago.

“We are embracing the faith community. We are embracing the faith community like it hasn’t been embraced in many years,” he said to the crowd, adding that the “faith community” was “under assault” before he was sworn in as president.

“But that ended the day I took office,” Trump said to loud applause.

The president remains extremely popular with Republican voters. A recent Morning Consult poll found 85% of GOP voters approve of his performance as president. The same survey found among that bloc that identified as “conservative,” his approval ratings are even higher: 91 percent. And 96% of those who called themselves “very conservative” give him high marks.

When he declared “we are proudly defending the sanctity of life,” the anti-abortion crowd broke into a “four more years!” chant.

©2019 CQ-Roll Call, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.