Although all the candidates call themselves pro-life, the debate revealed a difference in strategy in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Nikki Haley said Republicans must be practical on the issue.
“When it comes to a federal ban, let's be honest with the American people and say it will take 60 Senate votes, it will take a majority of the House,” Haley said. “... Let's find consensus. Can't we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can't we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can't we all agree that doctors and nurses who don't believe in abortion shouldn't have to perform them? Can't we all agree that contraception should be available? And can't we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion? Let's treat this like the respectful issue that it is and humanize the situation and stop demonizing the situation.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his signing of a heartbeat abortion ban in Florida. Asked if he would sign a similar abortion ban on the federal level, he responded, “I'm gonna stand on the side of life. Look, I understand Wisconsin is going to do it different than Texas. I understand Iowa and New Hampshire are going to do different, but I will support the cause of life as governor and as president.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence supported a federal ban.
"Nikki, you're my friend. But consensus is the opposite of leadership,” Pence said. “When the Supreme Court returned this question to the American people, they didn't just send it to the states only. It's not a states-only issue. It's a moral issue. And I promise you, as president of the United States, the American people will have a champion for life in the Oval Office. Can’t we have a minimum standard in every state in the nation that says when a baby is capable of feeling pain, an abortion cannot be allowed? A 15-week ban is an idea whose time has come.”
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