During the first half of Friday’s Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, one Republican candidate shared his thoughts about abortion and Iowa’s newly passed six-week ban, while two other “pro-life” candidates avoided the issue despite the friendly setting.
Across the country, solid majorities support abortion being legal in all or most cases. In May this year, Gallup found 34% said abortion should be legal under any circumstance and 51% said it should be legal in certain circumstances.
At the summit, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed Iowa’s new abortion ban into law during the afternoon session.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson congratulated Reynolds and the Iowa Legislature for the recently passed bill.
“Arkansas is the number one pro-life state in the nation. I’m proud of that and we want to protect the unborn child,” he said in his closing comments.
During a press conference after his time on the stage, Hutchinson said Congress should come to a consensus to solve this problem in America.
“I’m very doubtful that that’s going to happen, but if they can, that will be the direction that we can restrict and reasonable restrictions on abortion with reasonable exceptions,” he said.
The support for abortion is especially high for first-trimester (the first 12 weeks) abortions: 69% think it should be legal.
These numbers have been steady and rising for decades.
Hutchinson said he admired how Iowa reached a consensus on abortion, but 61% of Iowans have said they want abortion to be legal in all or most cases.
“The reason I applauded Governor Reynolds today is because she showed a great deal of courage and it reflects that every state is going to make their own decisions,” he said. “Arkansas has one law that prohibits abortions that’s actually more restrictive even than Iowa.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence also didn’t talk about abortion much. Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who moderated all the on-stage candidate interviews asked Pencer more about the war in Ukraine and the Jan. 6 Insurrection.
At the close of his time, Pence did give a nod to packing federal courts at all levels with more anti-abortion judges.
“As president of the United States, we’re going to restore law and order in our cities, we’re gonna secure our border, we’re gonna get this economy moving again and we’re going to make sure that we have men and women on our courts at every level that will stand for the right to life and defend all the God-given liberties enshrined in our constitution,” he said.
Pence is on record saying he supports a federal six-week abortion ban, which would match Iowa’s ban. At the minimum, he has asked his fellow Republican candidates to get behind the 15-week national ban, though many have not.
Pence has also advocated for pulling the abortion pill from the market. Pills are the most widely used form of abortion in the US and they’re incredibly safe and effective.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) also wasn’t asked about abortion and he never found a way to mention it in his comments. Candidates slated to speak in the afternoon include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former US Ambassador Nikki Hayley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
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