Today, Donald Trump became the first sitting president to speak at an anti-abortion March for Life rally, and he used the opportunity to call for more abortions. Yes, you read that right: the man hailed as the “most pro-life president in history” doesn’t even know how to talk about the issues and policies he is supposedly against. But what else is new, right?
Speaking at the anti-abortion rally, Trump extolled the virtues of anti-abortion advocates and healthcare professionals for nine minutes. He also ripped on Roe v. Wade, the historic Supreme Court decision that makes abortion a federal right. He also made the peculiar claim that “a number of states… allow a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong. It has to change.”
Let’s roll back the tape. Trump said that in the United States, a baby is born after spending nine months in his or her mother’s womb. In other words: a pregnancy carried to term until the ninth month results in birth. Yup. Thanks for the insight, Don. Highly appreciated.
What makes a lot less sense is why Trump believes this—a normal pregnancy—is wrong. If he is calling for fewer pregnancies to be carried to term, then he is calling for more abortions. The Daily Beast reports that he was supposed to say “torn,” but he couldn’t even get a simple four-letter word right.
White House confirms that Trump meant to say "torn" instead of "born" during today's anti-abortion speech. pic.twitter.com/PMPupC4CK3— David Martosko (@dmartosko) January 19, 2018
But… not so fast. Even if Trump did mean to say “torn,” his statement would still be confusing. If he meant to decry late-term abortions (abortions that occur after the 20 week standard) then he misspoke. There is no such thing as an abortion at nine months. That is, once again, simply called birth. Still, late-term abortions (after 20 weeks) are extremely rare to begin with—the Guttmacher Institute estimates that about 1 percent of abortion are performed after 21 weeks.
Trump then called late-term abortions painful, which is a claim not backed up by science. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has testified to the House Judiciary Committee that it “knows of no legitimate scientific data or information that supports the statement that a fetus experiences pain at 20 weeks’ gestation.”
In case you were wondering, yes, everyone noticed this latest gaffe, and yes, everyone took to Twitter to try to make even the tiniest bit of sense of it. Spoiler alert: no sense was made, but people did rip the President to shreds.
“Right now, in a number of states, the laws allow a baby to be born from his or her mother’s womb in the ninth month. It is wrong. It has to change.”— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 19, 2018
Genuinely confused by this. (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/3FT8SCQY5V
We have a split screen of hypocrisy: Trump is talking about love and nurture of children whose parents refused abortion as an option at “March for Life”; Senators are debating govt shutdown over healthcare for needy children & the deportations of millions. Life?! Love?! Nurture?!— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) January 19, 2018
Donald Trump on abortion in 2004: pic.twitter.com/9mqeahXm5X— Ellie Hall (@ellievhall) January 19, 2018
Donald Trump is suddenly going after abortion rather loudly as a smokescreen to distract America from his infidelity, lies, corruption, his fear of sharks and his love for being spanked by a magazine with his kids on the cover.— Tommy Campbell (@MrTommyCampbell) January 19, 2018
👉 In a dramatic and surprising shift, Donald Trump issued a controversial call at the annual March for Life rally for ALL babies to be ABORTED at the age of 9 months. Shocked anti-abortion activists have yet to officially respond.https://t.co/sbP8fAN6MZ— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) January 19, 2018
Pictured: Trump speaks to a crowd of all the children he’d have if abortion were illegal pic.twitter.com/JxfJbST429— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) January 19, 2018
You can watch Trump's full speech below.