GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley said she would “strive” to “find consensus” on the issue of abortion as president.
Haley delivered a pro-life speech in Arlington, Virginia, Tuesday morning, taking on the hot-button issue of abortion and saying she would not “demagogue or hide” from talking about it while touching on her own personal, pro-life story.
The former United Nations ambassador said she was “unapologetic and unhesitant” in her pro-life views and shared that her husband was adopted and that the two of them struggled while having their two children.
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GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley delivered a pro-life speech Tuesday, saying she would not “demagogue or hide” from talking about it while touching on her own personal, pro-life story. (Sam Wolfe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“I’m here to speak about it directly and openly. I won’t address every possible question or angle,” Haley said. “Rather, I aim to start a constructive conversation about where we go from here in our divided country.”
“Abortion is a deeply personal topic for both women and men. I understand why. Someone’s body and someone else’s life are not things to be taken lightly, and they should not be politicized,” she continued. “The issue should be addressed with sensitivity and respect, not judgment and hate.”
“Most people have a story that has brought them to their views about abortion. It could be a personal experience,” Haley said. “It could be a trauma that a family member or friend endured. It could be a moral conviction. It could be our concerns for our daughters and their future.”
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The Republican presidential candidate highlighted her pro-life record while serving as South Carolina governor, including signing the Born Alive Infant Protection Act that protects “babies born during botched abortions,” signing “a law protecting unborn babies from the moment they can feel pain” that prohibited abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and making “it easier for women to get ultrasounds.”
“We also launched initiatives that paired thousands of vulnerable first-time moms with nurses who had specialized training in maternal and child health,” Haley said. “I kept up the fight as ambassador to the United Nations. And I’m not done yet.”
The Republican presidential candidate highlighted her pro-life record while serving as South Carolina governor. ( M. Scott Brauer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Haley said the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year, which returned the decision on abortion to the state level, makes the American people “now free to forge consensus once again” on the issue.
The GOP presidential contender applauded the states that passed pro-life bills while wishing it “weren’t the case” that other states have “doubled down on abortion.”
“I said I want to save as many lives and help as many moms as possible. That is my goal. To do that at the federal level, the next president must find national consensus. That might sound strange to many people. Under Roe, consensus was replaced by demonization. And let’s be honest: most in the media promote demonization. They stoke division pitting Americans against each other. No one talks about finding consensus. Everyone goes to the barricades and attacks the other side. They’ve turned a sensitive issue that has long divided people into a kind of gotcha bidding war.”
“Reaching consensus starts with humanizing, not demonizing,” Haley said. “Just like I have my story, I respect everyone who has their story. I don’t judge someone who is pro-choice any more than I want them to judge me for being pro-life.”
She noted that each state is reaching its own “consensus” on abortion, but noted the pro-life federal push “is much harder,” as it necessitates controlling the House, a supermajority in the Senate, and the White House.
“We are nowhere close to reaching that point. Today, there are around 45 pro-life senators, depending on how you count them. There haven’t been 60 Republican senators since 1910,” Haley said. “It could happen one day. But it hasn’t happened in over a hundred years, and it’s unlikely to happen soon.”
“We have to face this reality,” she continued. “The pro-life laws that have passed in strongly Republican states will not be approved at the federal level.”
Haley said she believes “there is a federal role on abortion” and that “common ground already exists” between both sides of the debate.
Haley said she believes “there is a federal role on abortion” and that “common ground already exists” between both sides of the debate. (Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
“There is broad public agreement that babies born during a failed abortion deserve to live. They need medical care and the full protection of the law, just like every other baby. There is broad public agreement that we should never pressure moms into having an abortion. They should get support to carry their baby to term. They should be able to get information from pregnancy resource centers – and especially about adoption.”
Haley said the U.S. should improve how it handles adoption, aiming “to avoid children growing up in a government system with too little love.” Religious freedom also should be protected, she said: “We can broadly agree that pro-life doctors and nurses should never be forced to violate their beliefs. The right of conscience matters just as much as the right to life.”
“Surely, we can all agree that abortion up until the time of birth is a bridge too far. Only seven countries on earth allow elective late-term abortions,” Haley continued. “We’re talking brutal regimes like Communist China and North Korea.”
“We should be able to agree that contraception should be more available, not less,” she added. “And we can all agree that women who get abortions should not be jailed. A few have even called for the death penalty. That’s the least pro-life position I can possibly imagine.”
Haley also blasted “today’s political and media class” who stir up conflict for fundraising, ratings and clicks, and warned that hating “and judging each other has become the norm instead of respecting one’s personal story.”
The Republican candidate also torched the Democrats for moving away from former President Clinton’s call for making abortion “safe, legal and rare.”
Haley slammed President Biden for doing “nothing to discourage” attacks against pregnancy resource centers, calling it “partisanship of the worst kind,” not “leadership.” (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images))
“Few Democrats say ‘rare’ anymore. Just the opposite,” Haley said. “Many want legal abortion anytime, for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, in every state and town in America.”
“Some radical activists are even lighting pregnancy resource centers on fire,” she continued. “These are not the voices of consensus. They are acts of division and hatred.”
Haley slammed President Biden for doing “nothing to discourage it” and said the president promotes the acts, calling it “partisanship of the worst kind,” not “leadership.”
The former South Carolina governor also touched on the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse under her leadership. After the deadly 2015 shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, the state government “found consensus on a very tough issue” to remove the flag, she said.
“What was true then, with the flag, can be true now, with abortion,” Haley said. “This shouldn’t be about one movement winning, and another one losing.”
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“This shouldn’t be about picking sides, scoring points or stoking outrage,” she continued. “It’s about saving babies and supporting moms.”
“I am fighting for all of them, and I will work with anyone to do that,” Haley added.