By Peter Sullivan - 01-26-16 14:46 PM EST
A group of national and Iowa-based leaders of anti-abortion groups are urging voters to support “anyone but Trump."
The 10 leaders, including Jenifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, and Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, wrote a letter to Iowa voters ahead of Monday’s caucuses, warning against Donald Trump, one of the leading candidates.
“On the issue of defending unborn children and protecting women from the violence of abortion, Mr. Trump cannot be trusted and there is, thankfully, an abundance of alternative candidates with proven records of pro-life leadership whom pro-life voters can support,” the letter states. “We have come to this conclusion after having listened patiently to numerous debates and news reports, but most importantly to Donald Trump’s own words.”
Iowa's Republican voters are known for their social conservatism and the groups' letter could play an important role ahead of the caucuses. Trump is in a close race with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the state.
A super-PAC backing Cruz is hitting Trump in a television ad for saying in a 1999 interview: "I am pro-choice in every respect."
Trump says that he has since changed his position. A Trump campaign spokeswoman responded to the letter on Tuesday by pointing to Trump’s op-ed in the Washington Examiner last week.
“Let me be clear — I am pro-life,” Trump wrote. “I did not always hold this position, but I had a significant personal experience that brought the precious gift of life into perspective for me.”
The letter refers to other statements Trump has made, like saying former Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican who describes himself as pro-choice, could make a “very good” vice presidential candidate.
“It would be a disaster to have a vice president who disagrees” on abortion, the letter states.
The anti-abortion leaders point out that the next president is likely to make several appointments to the Supreme Court, which could have bearing on efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Beyond policy, the leaders also say they are “disgusted” by Trump’s treatment of women, including Fox host Megyn Kelly and rival candidate Carly Fiorina.
“He has impugned the dignity of women, most notably Megyn Kelly, he mocked and bullied Carly Fiorina, and has through the years made disparaging public comments to and about many women,” the letter states. “Further, Mr. Trump has profited from the exploitation of women in his Atlantic City casino hotel which boasted of the first strip club casino in the country.”