Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley tried to find common ground on the topic of abortion, calling for a “respectful” approach.
“We need to stop demonizing this issue,” she told Fox News moderator Martha MacCallum.
Haley, who also served as the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the topic is personal to her, noting that her husband was adopted and that she had trouble having her own children.
She said a consensus on the topic will need to be reached should a federal abortion ban be introduced.
“Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions?” she asked. “Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can’t we all agree that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortions 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?”
Former Vice President Mike Pence challenged Haley, saying that “it will take unapologetic leadership that stands on principle and expresses compassion.” He called for a 15-week abortion ban in every state and said he would enact such a ban if elected president.
Haley told Pence to “be honest with the American people.”
“No Republican president can ban abortions any more than a Democrat president can ban all those state laws,” she said. “Don’t make women feel like they have to decide on this issue when you know we don’t have 60 Senate votes in the House.”
Some more context: In interviews with dozens of Republicans, the vast majority – even among the staunchest opponents of abortion – rejected the idea of Congress pursuing a national ban and said leadership has no plans on the horizon for it to be a centerpiece of their agenda, despite passing federal restrictions on the procedure in previous years when they were in power. Republicans say there’s a practical reason for their change in stance: After Roe v. Wade was overturned last summer, they argue that the question of whether to ban abortion is now best left to the states.