Last Wednesday, in Albuquerque, NM, a pro-life pregnancy center sponsored by Project Defending Life, a Catholic ministry, was burglarized and set on fire. The arsonist ignited the altar and pews in the onsite Holy Innocents chapel, then set a rack of anti-abortion pamphlets ablaze.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations is investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.
Since 2006, the ministry has offered services to women — from finding housing and getting jobs to free gynecological exams—in a building across the street from a Planned Parenthood facility and down the street from a late-term abortion provider. New Mexico has emerged as an abortion destination state, attracting an increasing number of out-of-state women; it is one of seven states that permit abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
The attack demonstrates that abortion remains a flashpoint, following an election in which the subject undoubtedly played a significant role in electing Donald J. Trump.
The last three months of the presidential campaign revealed Hillary Clinton’s adamant support for partial-birth, and federally-funded, abortion. These positions are way out-of-step with mainstream America.
She openly supported repealing the Hyde Amendment, a bipartisan consensus since 1976 preventing federal funding for abortion — a move supported by only 36 percent of likely voters. She favored continued federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Trump said he would defund Planned Parenthood.
During the third debate, Clinton adamantly supported partial-birth abortion, which she antiseptically described as “regulation,” allowable to protect a mother’s life and health. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, a practicing pediatric surgeon for 35 years, among other doctors said the procedure was never used to save a mother’s life.
Trump’s response was visceral: “If you take what she says, you can rip the baby from the womb of the mother in the ninth month, and she says that’s ok. But it’s not ok with me. That’s not acceptable.”
Although only 19 percent of pro-life voters thought Trump shared their position in May 2016, by November 8, Trump was the choice of every demographic that aligns with pro-life positions: evangelical and born-again voters (82 percent-16 percent), people who attend Church at least once a week (56 percent-40 percent), and Catholics (52 percent-45 percent).
Non-Hispanic Catholics voted for Trump by an overwhelming 60 percent-37 percent, which compensated for the lopsided plurality Hispanic Catholics gave Clinton (67 percent-27 percent).
Catholic voters favored Barack Obama in 2008 by 9 percent and in 2012 by 2 percent.
Historically, Catholic voters are considered late deciders who typically pick the winner.
“Donald Trump’s commitment to prolife positions only got stronger throughout the campaign,” said Mallorey Quigley, Communications Director for the Susan B. Anthony List, which invests in pro-life candidates and legislative advocacy.
SBA List targeted Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio on behalf of Donald Trump’s candidacy, spending $18 million over two years. (EMILY’s List, a staunch supporter of pro-abortion candidates, spent over $40 million for the 2016 election cycle.)
Trump endorsed SBA List’s top legislative priority, a ban on abortion after five months (the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act”) in July 2015.
Quigley explained, the group widened its outreach beyond pro-life Republicans to “persuadable Democrats and Independents, who we knew were pro-life, and thought we could convince if they understood Hilary Clinton’s extreme pro-abortion position.” The group knocked on 1.1 million doors in the targeted battleground states, which were all won.
As Fr. Paul O’Callaghan, pastor of St George Orthodox Cathedral in Wichita, KS told the Washington Examiner: “A lot of people told me how appalled they were regarding Hillary Clinton’s advocacy for third- trimester abortion. There was a lot of strong feeling about that.”
On Election Day, the two terms most searched on the Internet were “abortion” and “immigration” according to Google Lab: Two issues that played a key role with voters in the critical Detroit suburbs.
Martin Manna, president of the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce, said, “Our community voted like it never has.”
Chaldeans are Catholics from Iraq; the largest population of Iraqis outside that country live in metropolitan Detroit — over 121, 000 people.
When Michigan’s final presidential vote count was announced on November 23, revealing Donald J. Trump had won by a mere 10,704 votes, Detroit’s northeast suburbs, especially Macomb County, proved to be key, as noted by local media.
Macomb County, where many Iraqi Chaldeans live, selected Trump over Clinton by 12 percent although they voted for President Obama in both 2008 and 2012. The voters in this county aren’t blue collar, but professionals.
According to Manna, what motivated this generally conservative community was the pro-life issue as well as the persecution of Christians in Iraq and Syria, which has not been a focus of the current administration.
“We’ve seen no action from the Obama administration despite a genocide against Christians and constant violence and intimidation from radical Islamic fundamentalists,” reported Manna, who is hopeful the next Administration will favor a new province to serve as a safe haven for religious minorities in the Nineveh Plain.