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Trump urges anti-abortion advocates to rally in November
President Trump on Tuesday encouraged anti-abortion advocates to turn out to the polls in November to help get more of his priorities through Congress, like a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
"If we work hard between now and November, every one of these states can be flipped to a senator who shares our values and votes our agenda," Trump said at an annual gala held by the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, an anti-abortion group based in Washington.
Trump specifically called out three vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection in states he won in 2016: Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.). He noted the three joined other Democrats in voting against a 20-week abortion ban earlier this year.
"We're nine votes away from passing the 20-week abortion bill in the Senate, so we have to get out there [and vote]," Trump said.
But the president also riffed about the importance of the vote in November, comparing it to the 2016 election that saw him enter office.
"Your vote in 2018 is every bit as important as your vote in 2016," Trump started, reading from prepared remarks.
"Although I'm not really sure I believe that. I don't know who the hell wrote that line," he quipped, adding, "but it's still important."
Trump formally announced a new proposal from his administration to ban family planning clinics from receiving federal funding through the Title X program if they refer patients for abortions or share a location with abortion providers.
The move has been described by both sides as a direct attack on Planned Parenthood, which receives millions of dollars every year through the program.
"For decades, American taxpayers have been wrongfully forced to subsidize the abortion industry with Title X federal funding, so today we have kept another promise," Trump said Tuesday night.
While federal law prevents the use of federal funds for abortions, anti-abortion groups and conservatives have long argued money is fungible and can indirectly support abortions if it goes to groups like Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood on Tuesday evening described the proposal as a "gag rule" that will block millions of women from getting the health care they need.
Defunding Planned Parenthood and overturning Roe v. Wade were the themes of the night, with SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser stressing the importance of the midterms.
If anti-abortion Republicans can win more seats in the Senate in November, she said, it strengthens the possibility Roe v. Wade will be overturned with the next Supreme Court appointment.
"If we elect a pro-life Senate this year, we have a fighting chance to ... overturn the great stain our American conscience that is Roe v. Wade," she said.
"He is the most pro-life president in history, and he will do more if we fight for his pro-life agenda at the polls in November. But we have have a Senate that's not just Republican, but pro life," she said.