How can we, the pro-life generation, ensure that we choose a leader who has proven to be one of integrity and care concerning the preborn? The following is part two of a pro-life guide of the Republican candidates running for the 2024 presidential election. To read part 1 and see where the other candidates, such as Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, stand on abortion, click HERE

Nikki Haley

Former South Carolina governor and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, the only woman running in the 2024 presidential race, has taken a softer approach to the abortion issue compared to the other candidates. She has emphasized national consensus around the topic while also supporting anti-abortion policies. 

In 2012, Haley signed two key pro-life bills – the Opt Out of Abortion Act and the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. The first enabled an opt-out of abortions in federal health care insurance under Obamacare, and the second protects babies born alive after failed abortions. Several years later, she ordered an investigation of abortion clinics in her state after a nationwide scandal involving abortion clinic leader Planned Parenthood selling the body parts of aborted babies. 

Believing that the state health department had been lax about inspecting abortion clinics, she asked in a letter to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Heigel to “engage in a prompt and comprehensive investigation of the policies and practices of abortion clinics in our state, prioritizing those affiliated with or owned by Planned Parenthood, its subsidiaries, and its affiliates.” She later wrote, “Over the past weeks, I have been shocked by recent accounts of unethical practices at clinics affiliated with Planned Parenthood…”

Afterward, state health officials discovered several health violations in all three of the abortion clinics in the state. 

Among these violations were improper infectious waste disposal practices. In a written statement, Haley said, “South Carolina is a compassionate state, and we are a state of laws. We will not tolerate law breaking of any kind, particularly as it relates to the callous treatment of human life.” 

In 2016, Haley banned abortion in South Carolina after 20 weeks of pregnancy with a bill called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill contains exceptions in cases of the mother’s health being endangered or the baby’s inability to ever live outside the womb. Haley has also stated that she would have signed a six-week abortion ban as governor if it had been possible.

Three years later, Haley spoke about what it means to be truly feminist as a speaker at the Susan B. Anthony List’s Campaign for Life Gala in Washington, D.C., saying,

“Unfortunately, many on the left use the abortion debate to divide women and demand conformity. They do this in the name of feminism, but that is not real feminism. The idea that women must adhere to a particular set of values is one of the most anti-women ideas in today’s culture.”

She also stated what her approach was as governor. “As a pro-life, female governor, I was blessed with a unique platform, and I made every effort to use it appropriately — not to lob attacks at people who disagreed with me, not to diminish the other side, but to re-frame the debate,” she explained in the same address.

As a presidential candidate, Haley has expressed that she would sign a federal abortion ban into law, but she hasn’t stated at what point in pregnancy she would aim to see abortion prohibited. She has also, however, pointed out how doubtful it is for a federal abortion ban to be an option due to the low likelihood of getting the necessary votes from the Senate.

“It is in the hands of the people and that’s where it should be, but when you’re talking about a federal ban, be honest with the American people. We haven’t had 45 pro-life senators in over a hundred years, so no Republican president can ban abortions anymore than a Democrat president could ban all those state laws. Don’t make women feel like they have to decide on this issue when you know we don’t have 60 Senate votes,” Haley explained in the first GOP Presidential Debate. 

The prospective candidate has emphasized national consensus on this issue. 

“So, where can we agree? We can agree: Let’s stop late-term abortions. Let’s make sure that if doctors and nurses don’t believe in abortion, they shouldn’t have to perform them. Let’s encourage more adoptions and make sure our children in foster care feel love. Let’s make sure contraception is accessible. And let’s say that if a woman has an abortion, she shouldn’t go to jail or get the death penalty. Let’s start there. And instead of demonizing the issue, let’s humanize the issue,” she said in an interview with CBS.

Nikki Haley’s more moderate approach to the issue has been both criticized and praised in the political arena, but she claims to be unapologetically pro-life, and she had a consistently pro-life record as governor of South Carolina.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Former biotech entrepreneur and founder of pharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences, Vivek Ramaswamy, is the youngest Republican candidate in the race for the U.S. presidency. He was the recent subject of a video which garnered millions of views on social media. It depicted him at an event in Iowa speaking before a protester interrupted him by shouting “protect our women” and similar pro-choice remarks. Rather than let the woman be escorted out, he called her back, wanting to give her a chance to speak.

In tears, the lady spoke of how little support she got as a single mother, and how she had to take care of her child alone. She said that it was her body, her choice. Ramaswamy unexpectedly thanked her and responded by saying

You’re doing one of the most important things, being a mother raising her children in this world. Even if we have our disagreements, I want to say thank you. And part of what it means to live in this country is we have free speech. We get to speak our minds openly even if we all don’t agree.”

The entrepreneur has said that “unborn life is life” and has described himself as “unapologetically pro-life.” He has also emphatically stated, however, that as President he will not federally ban abortion and believes it to be unconstitutional. “This is not an issue for the federal government. This is an issue for the states. I think we need to be explicit about that. If murder laws are handled at the state level and abortion is a form of murder, the pro-life view, then it makes no sense for that to be the one federal law,” he told CNN. He believes that there are no constitutional grounds for the federal government to ban abortion nationwide, but he has said that he is open to being convinced by legal scholars.

Ramaswamy has also said that he wants a more pro-life culture, as well as more accountability from the pro-life side. “I think that the pro-life movement needs to walk the walk when it comes to being pro-life…I’m pro-contraception. I’m pro-adoption. I’m pro-child care. I’m pro-more responsibility for men…This doesn’t have to be, and should not be a men’s versus women’s rights issue,” he said.

Concerning state laws, the candidate has reported that he supports outlawing abortion after six weeks because that is when brain waves are typically detected from the fetus. “If life ends…when do  brainwaves end? That’s how we determine when life ends on the back end, I think we should apply a consistent principle on the front end, that’s around the six-week mark that brainwaves do begin,” he stated in an interview.

Asa Hutchinson

American attorney, businessman, and former governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson has been struggling with gaining traction in his run for Republican president. However, he has recently affirmed that he is not dropping out of the race just yet. Hutchinson’s state was ranked first for pro-life policy on the 2022 Life List of Americans United for Life. The organization designated Hutchinson as a ‘champion for life’ in its endorsement. 

In 2017, Hutchinson signed a ban on sex-selective abortions, meaning that abortionists who provided their services to a mother who wanted an abortion because of their child’s sex could be subject to fines or jail time. That same year, he signed the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act, banning the most common second-trimester abortion method in the United States – dilation and evacuation or D&E. Two years later, he also passed legislation that banned abortion after 18 weeks.

That very same year, the state of Arkansas passed SB149, also known as the Human Life Protection Act, a ‘trigger law.’ The trigger law was triggered and went into effect after Roe v. Wade was overturned and banned abortion in the state on June 24, 2024, except for “a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury.” Abortionists, not women, are punishable under this law.

Hutchinson reportedly signed this law with reservations, however, because the act did not contain exceptions to allow abortion for rape and incest, saying,

“While it’s still life in the womb, life of the unborn, it was, the conception was under criminal circumstances, either incest or rape, and so those are two exceptions I recognize, I believe are very appropriate, and what will happen as time goes on if Roe versus Wade is reversed, these are gonna become very real circumstances. I think the debate and discussion will be – will continue and that very well could be revisited.”

In 2021, the Arkansas Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban nearly all abortions in the state, was put on the table. Hutchinson said that he would sign it, but he also expressed doubt, stating, “I’ve always historically signed every pro-life bill that’s come to my desk; this one has caused some pause because it is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.” 

Hutchinson’s thoughts on a federal abortion ban have been a bit inconsistent in recent years. In 2022, he claimed that he opposed a national ban, calling it inconsistent for Republicans to pursue and stating that abortion policy should be left to the states. 

“As a matter of principle, that’s where it should be. If you look at a constitutional or a national standard, that goes against that thrust of the states having prerogative. And secondly, I think there’s some constitutional issues of a national standard as well as to what is the authority under the Constitution to enact that,” he explained to ABC that year.

More recently, however, the candidate has expressed support for the same abortion ban that he once opposed. 

He told CNN in an interview earlier this year: “I would support the restrictions, and I would advocate for the exceptions of the life of the mother and the cases of rape and incest. I believe that’s where the American public is. I don’t think anything will come out of Congress without those exceptions. And I certainly would sign a pro-life bill, but I would expect those exceptions to be in place.” Specifying his views, he has stated that he would ban abortion after 15 weeks. 

In the first GOP Presidential Debate, Hutchinson said, “The Supreme Court gave it back to the elected representatives, whether it’s the states or whether it’s the United States Congress, so there is authority…It’s most likely going to be addressed in the states, but it’s certainly fine for it to be addressed at the national level as well. Arkansas has the record of being the most pro-life state in the nation. I signed thirty pro-life pieces of legislation while I was governor. And every state can determine a different outcome here, and it is the most important issue for women, and for the unborn child, and for our country that we get this right…Let’s talk about it in terms of compassion, in terms of protecting the life, and also understanding how we have to enhance adoption services, how we have to enhance maternal care.”

Asa Hutchinson’s pro-life record as governor is impressive, and recently, he has supported a national abortion ban, but he also wants exceptions to abortion that are unnecessary and harmful.

Chris Christie

Similarly to Asa Hutchinson, former federal prosecutor and governor of New Jersey Chris Christie is currently failing to gain traction in the polls but has not dropped out. [Editor’s Note: Chris Christie ended his campaign on January 10, 2024.]

Christie has shared how he converted to the pro-life cause upon seeing the ultrasound of his daughter in the womb. 

“As you all may know, this is not an issue that I always understood nor was I always on your side. It is an issue I came to grow and learn about in a very personal way. My daughter Sarah will turn 15 in February. When I heard her heartbeat at three months in our doctor’s office, it was at that moment that it became clear to me that being on the sidelines on this issue was not something I could live with. I needed to speak out in favor of a very simple idea, that that child is a life which deserves protection,” he has testified.

In 2015, Christie vetoed several pro-choice bills in New Jersey, including A3672, which would have given about $7.5 million dollars to family planning centers (such as Planned Parenthood), A4604, which would have allowed Medicaid coverage for family planning services, and S866, which would have authorized gestational carrier agreements (enabling for legally binding agreements between a woman and the surrogate child she carries). 

In describing why he vetoed these particular bills, Christie explained, “I did so because of the significant ethical and moral concerns raised by a government-enforced system of agreements to procreate. I have repeatedly stated that every life is precious, and every human deserving of protection. I take seriously the need to guard against any social deprecation of the miracle of life.”

During his 2016 presidential run, Christie endorsed a 20-week abortion ban, saying, “I am proud to be a pro-life Republican. I believe that every life is an individual gift from God, and that no life is disposable.” However, in stating his beliefs for this presidential campaign, he doesn’t support a federal abortion ban unless there is national consensus. Instead, he believes the issue should be left up to the states. 

The candidate explained to CNN earlier this year, “What I stand for … is what conservatives have been arguing for 50 years, which is that Roe was wrong, there’s no federal constitutional right to an abortion, and that the states should decide. I absolutely believe that each state should make their decision on this.”

Christie has also attracted criticism for his statements on allowing exceptions for rape and incest. 

“I believe that if a woman has been raped, that is a pregnancy that she should be able to terminate. If she is a victim of incest, this is not a woman’s choice, this is a woman being violated. The fact is that we have always believed, as has Ronald Reagan, that we have self defense for women who have been raped and impregnated because of it or been victims of incest and been impregnated for it. I believe that they do not have to deliver that child if they believe that is an act of self defense by terminating that pregnancy,” he stated during one of the 2016 GOP debates.

Overall, Christie vetoed several harmful pro-choice bills as governor and has testified to his pro-life values, but his opinions on a federal abortion ban have been inconsistent and he has shared harmful statements on abortion exceptions.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels

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I love history, Middle Earth, writing, cinema, and Jesus. I hope to use the gifts He has given me to spread the Truth about His love and protect those in the womb.

The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.