Regarding the UN, if you could advise the new administration, what would you say?
Actually, we’ve had the opportunity to meet with the new administration. Vice President Pence has been a friend of the pro-life movement for many, many years. And President Trump has, through his cabinet and delegates, been meeting with many pro-life leaders and bringing us into the conversation. So the whole idea of defunding Planned Parenthood; the whole reality of the Mexico City policy … Just a couple of days ago, President Trump raised the bar even higher on it. He has now taken the funding out of International Planned Parenthood. He is continuing to push this.
We also see this with US aid, and I know the administration is challenging this as well. Though they take away direct funding to Planned Parenthood and International Planned Parenthood, many in the administration are now learning how it’s tentacled into US aid programs. So what we have to do is take it away from those, which is what the President is now talking about. So there are some great things happening in this moment of time.
I travel a lot, and I hear a lot of negativity regarding the President from a lot of news agencies. But what they are reporting is not accurate, and it’s unfortunate. It’s doesn’t mean that, as in all of us, every detail is perfect, but regarding this conversation, we’ve seen some great things happen, which means we can move the conversation and effect things we are concerned about, like marriage and family support. So I think there’s an opportunity here that I wish people would pray for. Don’t just accept things that are out there in the media. Really look deeply and make sure you are getting an accurate presentation. If President Trump can do this with his administration, other governments can do that as well.
How much influence would the US be able to exert on these matters in the UN?
They could have great influence, if they defund it. The UN is going to find its funds in other ways, but defunding the United Nations Population Fund, which is promoting population control, would be tremendous.
Just to be clear: in Puerto Rico, on the day after President Trump signed the first executive order reinstituting the Mexico City Policy, there were two abortion facilities on the same street. One closed the the next day because there was no funding. So this is a reality. It’s more than just paper; it really affects lives. And just think, in this limited span of time, how many lives have been saved; how many women have been protected from this great crime (though they might not see it), and how many families have been saved.
This is something I think we ought to be talking about, and ought to be grateful for. Because under the Obama administration, this was zero. In fact, in the last year of his presidency, he introduced more millions into this conversation.
Any hopes for President Trump’s visit with Pope Francis this week?
I’m not sure what the agenda is for the meeting, but I’m hoping the President might talk about what his administration is doing to protect life and the family. I’m hoping that somehow that will come up, and that there will be an affirmation [by the Pope], saying “thank you for what you are doing.”
We know that there have been some negative comments, and of course the media takes that and runs with it, but I’m hoping that this meeting will be a way for the Pope to say to President Trump: keep doing what you’re doing to protect families and life.
Pope Francis said on his return flight from Fatima that he always listens before judging, and expects they will have a frank discussion away from the cameras.
I’m hoping that, behind closed doors, there is a deeper conversation with the spiritual father of the Church speaking on issues that are crucial. It doesn’t need to be in front of the camera; just a personal convicted challenge from the universal pastor of the Church, saying: “I’m concerned.” Either in a complimentary way or, in a beautiful way, to challenge.
President Trump deserves an opportunity, because he has been true to what he said he would do, and very quickly. And I really believe that, because of Vice President Pence, and because of many pro-life leaders with whom he has surrounded himself that are good people, he’s listening. And I think other people in other positions of authority can challenge, but should also thank him for what he’s doing. He’s the only one doing it. The Pope’s audience with President Trump would be a great opportunity for this to happen.