In an interview with 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl that aired Sunday night, President-elect Donald Trump reiterated his intention to severely curtail abortion rights in America. When asked whether he would appoint a Supreme Court justice who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, Trump replied, “I’m pro-life. The judges would be pro-life. … Having to do with abortion, if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states.” Stahl took this thought to its logical conclusion: “Then some women won’t be able to get an abortion.” “They’ll have to go to another state,” Trump replied nonchalantly, as though going to another state for a safe, routine medical procedure is a normal and reasonable thing for a person to have to do.
Trump’s promise to undo Roe v. Wade is a terrifying prospect for poor women in red states. Women of means will probably always be able to obtain abortions by traveling to states where the procedure remains legal; women who cannot afford plane tickets and hotel rooms will be at the mercy of private abortion funds. (Here’s a list of state and local abortion funds, if you can afford to donate.) As Rewire tweeted, “Does he think poor women are going to charter a flight to get an abortion?”
What makes Trump’s determination to restrict abortion access even more potentially galling is the possibility that Trump himself has paid for women’s abortions. Here’s what we know:
In a 1999 interview on Meet the Press, Trump described himself as “very pro-choice” and said he would not ban abortion, even late-term abortion, if elected president as the Reform Party candidate.
In 2003, on the Howard Stern Show, Trump alluded to an incident with a previous girlfriend who got pregnant, perhaps Marla Maples, who gave birth to their daughter Tiffany two months before Maples and Trump married in 1993. When the girlfriend announced her pregnancy, Trump recalled, “I said, ‘Well, what are we going to do about this?’ ” The question could well be read as Trump considering abortion for his girlfriend.
Earlier this year, the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd asked Trump whether he’d ever been “involved with anyone who had an abortion.” “Such an interesting question,” he replied. “So what’s your next question?”
“[I]f a voter accepts Trump’s alleged decades of casual extramarital sex, she shouldn’t be surprised that he may have, at one time, somehow participated in a partner’s abortion,” wrote my colleague Christina Cauterucci after Dowd’s interview came out. Indeed, given his history of statements about abortion, no one would be shocked if it turned out that Trump has paid for a partner or family member’s abortion or otherwise supported a close associate’s choice to abort. But at the moment, all we have is speculation, not facts. Slate would like to illuminate Trump’s personal history with abortion, which is why we are requesting information on abortions that Trump has paid for or supported. If you’re in possession of such information, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be clear, we’re not trying to violate any woman’s privacy or shame any woman who used to date Trump. We want to expose Trump’s hypocrisy, if he is indeed a hypocrite on this issue, in the interest of protecting other women’s reproductive rights. If Trump thinks it’s OK for his girlfriends, wives, or family members to get abortions, then his shameful plans to restrict abortion access for other American women will ring even more cynical and opportunistic than they already do. So do you have any information about abortions that Trump may have paid for or otherwise supported? Email us at email@example.com.