After actively campaigning for Sen. Ted Cruz during the Republican primaries, Troy Newman, the head of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, announced on Tuesday he has endorsed Donald Trump for president. In a statement, the anti-abortion extremist, who once blamed California’s ongoing drought on abortions, described the GOP nominee as the “best hope” to roll back abortion rights in the United States.
“We know all too well what we will get with Hillary Clinton, and that is more abortion, more tax funding of abortion, and favors for her campaign contributors at Planned Parenthood,” Newman said in a statement announcing his endorsement. “A Clinton presidency will result in more dead babies, and this we cannot allow.”
His backing comes amid Trump’s last ditch efforts to court women voters, with whom he has a dismal approval rating, and further cement his evangelical support. Throughout his campaign, the real estate magnate has repeatedly vacillated on reproductive rights, at one point announcing his approval of criminally punishing women who seek abortion, while on another occasion expressing his support for keeping existing legal protections in place.
Despite the mixed messages, Newman on Tuesday cited Trump’s pledge to appoint a conservative Supreme Court justice and thereby roll back the “Culture of Death in America” as the basis for his endorsement.
“While no political candidate is a perfect person, we must engage the political system as it stands today for the sake of protecting innocent life,” Newman said. “We cannot leave the results of this critical election for others to decide.”
In October, Australian immigration officials set out to deport Newman after he attempted to enter the country on a canceled visa. Politicians warned that Newman’s presence would incite violence against abortion providers.
Newman also serves as a board member for the Center for Medical Progress, the same organization behind the sting operation that falsely tried to claim that Planned Parenthood officials were illegally administering the sale of fetal tissue.