Trump touts anti-abortion agenda at gala speech
Posted May 22, 2018 8:30 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening keynoted a pro-life gala, touting his administration's policies aimed at ending taxpayer support of abortion.
"When I ran for office, I pledged to stand for life, and as president, that's exactly what I have done and I have kept my promise and I think everybody here understands that totally," he told the friendly crowd at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala.
Trump formally announced a new rule proposed by the White House last week that would bar abortions at facilities receiving federal family planning funds, a move aimed squarely at Planned Parenthood, which accepts some federal money for non-abortion services.
"For decades American taxpayers have been wrongfully forced to subsidize the abortion industry through Title X federal funding so today, we have kept another promise. My administration has proposed a new rule to prohibit Title X funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions," he said.
Trump was the first sitting president to address the gala, and called on the activists to "vote for life" in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.
The President took aim at some Democratic senators in conservative leaning states, including Jon Tester of Montana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who he said "all voted against the 20-week bill and in favor of late-term abortion."
"Your vote in 2018 vote is every bit is as important as your vote in 2016," he told the crowd, pausing before joking, "Well, I'm not sure I really believe that. I don't know who the hell wrote that line."
"But it's still important, remember," he said to laughter.
Trump wasn't always a staunch pro-life advocate. His policies on abortion have "evolved," he said on the 2016 campaign trail.
The then-businessman said in 1999 that while he hated the "concept of abortion," he was "pro-choice."
As he campaigned for president, Trump positioned himself as an opponent of legalized abortion and took aim at Planned Parenthood, ultimately earning the support of conservative voters.
Since taking office, Trump has made several policy changes making good on his campaign trail promises. He overturned an Obama-era ban on states defunding abortion providers, reinstated the Mexico City Policy, and indicated his support for the House-passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and appointed pro-life judges, he said Tuesday.
As Trump spoke Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee released a statement, calling the move "a brazen and shameful assault on women, their rights and their health."