On Jan. 22, the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision marked its 47th anniversary. It guaranteed a woman’s right to an abortion. On the same day, New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Reproductive Health Act into law. The RHA permits abortions after 24 weeks if a health care professional determines the health or life of the mother is at risk, or the fetus is not viable. Previously, abortions after 24 weeks were justified only in cases where the mother’s life was at risk. Under the old law, New York criminalized abortion unless it was “justifiable.” The RHA removes abortion from the state’s penal code altogether.
At the State of the Union address, President Trump urged Congress to pass legislation to prohibit late-term abortion.
President Trump: These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.
To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.
Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children—born and unborn—are made in the holy image of God.
Simone Gao: Another emotional moment was when the president talked about New York’s new late-term abortion law. He urged the Congress to pass laws prohibiting late-term abortions. Do you think the president is doing the right thing, and do you think the majority of Americans are with the president on this issue?
Tom Del Beccaro: Well, certainly from my personal perspective he’s doing the right thing. And I think he’s doing the right thing by his own conscience. The vast majority of Americans are against these type of late-term abortions. And, quite honestly, it’s shocking to the American conscience that there are politicians who think just before birth that you can go forward with an abortion. This is a losing issue for the Democrats. They are pushing far too far to the left in the eyes of Americans. So by highlighting this issue, Trump is doing the right thing from a moral standpoint, from his own conscience, and it’s also in keeping with the views of the vast majority of Americans.
Narration: According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, looking ahead, 58 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say they want the GOP to move in a more conservative direction.
Among Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, 53 percent of them want the Democratic Party to move in a more moderate direction, while 40 percent want the party to move further left. This number dropped since Trump’s presidential election victory in 2016. At that time, 49 percent of Democrats wanted the party to head in a more liberal direction.
Simone Gao: You are the author of “The Divided Era.” How serious do you think this problem is and whether and how do you think the country should go forward as a whole?
Tom Del Beccaro: Well, if you consider my premise for the book “The Divided Era,” which is basically the more government decides the more it divides. Because in every action the government picks a winner or loser and someone to pay for it. The larger government gets the more divisive it gets. And so right now government continues to grow in America. It’s about at 36 percent. Actually there’s the potential, as the private sector continues to grow, for it to be a much smaller percentage. But the Democrats are not interested just in the economy anymore. In fact, I could make the case that the economy is way down on the list to them. They’re more interested in social justice. So the chasm between Democrats and Republicans is as large as it’s ever been in American history. And while that chasm continues to get farther and farther apart with the Democrats pushing for essentially socialism and the Republicans pushing the opposite way, there really is very little opportunity for compromise between them. And so, in my mind, the division is going to continue until there’s an overriding reason to bring them together like a foreign policy concern, the last one of which we had, sadly, was 9/11. So I expect this division to continue.
Simone Gao: How do you think the president is doing? Does he want to unite the country? Or, even if he isn’t able to unite the country, is he doing what is right for the country?
Tom Del Beccaro: Well I think from a policy perspective he’s doing quite well. The economic and regulatory reforms he’s undertaking are making a huge difference. The reason why we have growth in excess of 3 percent right now is solely due to policy changes that freed up the American economy and gave Americans a chance to bring the economy back as compared to what it was like under President Obama when the heavy hand of government was keeping growth down. On the foreign policy front, five years ago America was watching beheadings of ISIS on TV, and that seems like a distant memory now. He’s made strides with respect to North Korea. He’s making strides with respect to a better trade policy with China. So I think from a policy perspective, he’s doing well. But keep in mind the Democrats aren’t interested just in the economy. In fact, I don’t think they’re very much interested in the economy. They care more about social justice. They’re obsessed with picking the next Supreme Court justice. So they’re going to disapprove of anything Trump does. I mean, Trump could give away the winning lottery numbers and they would complain, asking what took him so long to help everyone. So from that perspective, I think Trump is doing well from a policy point of view. But he’s still under attack. They won’t be very aggressive in the short term, but they’re going to find their voice again. In about four months the Democrats are going to start their debates to get the presidential nomination in 2020. Those are going to be lively, and they’re going to be very far to the left. And that’s when all the stories are going to change coming out of America. How far left is America going to go, and Trump gets to cut a very different viewpoint by saying we shouldn’t be socialist. We need to grow the economy not your taxes. So I think that’s really what this year is going to be about: how far left the Democrats go. And Trump needs to demonstrate that he’s already had things on the mend and there’s no reason to go backwards.