Social policy of Donald Trump

President Donald Trump describes himself as pro-life and generally opposes abortion with some exceptions: rape, incest, and circumstances endangering the health of the mother. [1] He has said that he is committed to appointing justices who may overturn the ruling in Roe v. Wade. [2] Trump personally supports "traditional marriage" but said after the election that he considers the nationwide legality of same-sex marriage a "settled" issue with the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling. [2] [3] This appeared to contradict some of his campaign statements, where he said he would "strongly consider" appointing justices who may overturn this decision. [4] [5] Whereas candidate Donald Trump largely avoided commenting on LGBT issues, the Trump administration rolled back a number of LGBT protections during the president's first six months in office. [6] [7]

Trump supports a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment and says he is opposed to gun control in general, [8] [9] although his views have shifted over time. [10] Trump opposes legalizing recreational marijuana but supports legalizing medical marijuana. [11] He favors capital punishment, [12] [13] as well as the use of waterboarding. [14] [15]


Before 2016

Trump's views on abortion have changed significantly between 1999 when he was "very" pro-choice and would neither ban abortion nor " partial-birth abortion", and his 2016 presidential campaign where he repeatedly described himself as pro-life (more specifically "pro-life with exceptions"), suggested that women who have abortions should face some sort of punishment (a view he quickly retracted), and pledged to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22]

In October 1999, Trump said, "I am very pro-choice" and "I believe in choice." [19] He said that he hated the "concept of abortion," but would not ban abortion or the procedure sometimes called "partial-birth abortion." [19] Later that year, Trump gave interviews stating "I'm totally pro-choice" and "I want to see the abortion issue removed from politics. I believe it is a personal decision that should be left to the women and their doctors." [16]

2016 presidential campaign

While campaigning for the presidency in 2016, Trump stated "I'm pro-life and I've been pro-life a long time" and acknowledged that he had "evolved" on the issue. [17] CNN reported that Trump "dodged questions testing the specificity of those views." [17] In August 2015, Trump said that he supported a government shutdown over federal funding for Planned Parenthood (which receives federal funding for the health services it provides to 2.7 million people annually, but is barred by federal law from using federal funds for abortion-related procedures). [23] In March 2016, Trump said that Planned Parenthood should not be funded "as long as you have the abortion going on," but acknowledged that "Planned Parenthood has done very good work for many, many -- for millions of women." [24] Planned Parenthood said in a statement that "Trump presidency would be a disaster for women" and criticized Trump's claim that "he'd be great for women while in the same breath pledging to block them from accessing care at Planned Parenthood." [24]

In an interview later that month, Trump acknowledged that there must be "some form" of punishment for women if abortion were made illegal in the U.S. Trump issued a statement later that day reversing his position from earlier by saying, "the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman." [21] [25] [26] Trump has said that abortion should be legal in cases involving "rape, incest or the life of the mother being at risk." [18]

In May 2016, when asked if he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, Trump stated: "Well, they'll be pro-life. And we'll see about overturning, but I will appoint judges that will be pro-life." In the same interview, Trump stated of the pro-life cause: "I will protect it, and the biggest way you can protect is through the Supreme Court." [20] The Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life feminist group, praised Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees as "exceptionally strong," while the pro-choice group NARAL Pro-Choice America called the candidates on the list "a woman's worst nightmare." [27] Trump has also pledged to sign legislation from Congress banning abortion at the 20-week mark. [28]


In his first interview following his designation as president-elect, Trump affirmed his pledge to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices. He said that if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the issue would be returned to the states, and that if some states outlawed abortion, a woman would "have to go to another state" to obtain an abortion. [29]

In January 24, days after being sworn in, Trump issued an executive order reinstating the Mexico City policy (also called the "global gag rule"). Under the policy, international non-governmental organizations that "offer or promote abortions as part of their family planning services" are barred from receiving funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). [30]

On March 27, Trump revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order then-President Barack Obama put in place to ensure that companies with federal contracts comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. [31]

In January 2018, Trump spoke at the March for Life in Washington D.C., becoming the first president to directly address the annual anti-abortion rally, albeit through satellite. [32]

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