By Will Hall, Message Editor
WASHINGTON (LBM)—President Trump made a bold pro-life statement during his annual State of the Union address declaring, “All children – born and unborn – are made in the holy image of God,” in apparent response to a bill passed in New York and a similar one rejected in Virginia, both containing provisions that allow abortion up to the moment of birth and also threaten the life of a baby who survives an abortion.
A CALL TO PROTECT LIFE
Trump’s proclamation was one of several addressing key life issues during his Feb. 5 presentation to Congress.
In his annual report he called for legislators and policy makers to “work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life,” and he outlined how his proposed budget for the coming year would reflect that value.
Trump said his budget request would include a line item for “$500 million over the next 10 years” to fund “the fight against childhood cancer.”
Likewise, without specifying an amount, he said his plan asks for money to support “nationwide paid family leave – so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.”
Moreover, with regard to protecting the unborn, he said he would offer legislation “to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.”
But he also expanded his defense of “the dignity of every person” beyond children to ask Congress to approve his budget priority for defeating AIDS in America, setting a 10 year target “to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States.”
The president also presented his request for a border wall in terms of the human misery that is resulting from swaths of unsecured shared boundary with Mexico.
Referencing “the savage gang, MS-13” and “ruthless coyotes, cartels, drug dealers and human traffickers” who “take advantage of wide open areas between our ports of entry,” he described the peril they posed in terms of smuggled children and women sold into “prostitution and modern-day slavery” and the thousands of U.S. citizens killed with the “meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl” being secreted into U.S. cities.
President Trump also made a case for civility and unity between the two major political parties, and, among the two congressional chambers along with the White House, being careful to mention joint successes among the accomplishments he highlighted from the first two years of his administration, including:
— cooperating to confront the opioid crisis;
— developing a sweeping new farm bill;
— creating historic VA reforms; and,
— working together on criminal justice reform, the First Step Act, to give non-violent offenders a second chance.
But, he also claimed victory in some contested policies, such as:
— enacting massive tax cuts for working families and essentially eliminating the estate tax on family businesses, ranches and farms ;
— removing the so-called Obamacare individual mandate penalty; and,
— cutting regulations, specifically for the oil and natural gas industries.
The vitality of the economy received special emphasis, with the president noting the 5.3 million new jobs created since his election, including 304,000 jobs added last month, and highlighting the nearly 5 million Americans “lifted off food stamps.”
He also mentioned international security successes or political-military progress in China, Iran, Iraq-Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea, as well as the new agreement among the United States, Mexico and Canada that will replace the NAFTA treaty that is in place now, and, the renewed budget commitment from NATO partners.
COOPERATION OR CONFLICT?
Although calling for cooperation throughout his message, the president is facing another standoff with Democrat leaders. The funding bill crafted by Congress and signed by him that ended the record 35-day partial shutdown of government only extends through Feb. 15.
At the time of his national address, Feb. 5, there were no signs that he or his opponents were nearing an agreement on the key issue of building more of the wall along the border with Mexico.