Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has said she won’t commit to pushing for federal rules on abortion because it’s an “unrealistic” goal for the next president and promising progress with Congress on this contentious issue are not “honest” with the American people.
In a CBS interview on Sunday, Haley was asked if she would support a federal law allowing abortion in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, as it’s a rule she signed into law in 2016 when she was governor of Caroline from the south. Haley, who opposes abortion, said it will be harder to find agreement in Congress than it has been to find consensus within states.
“For a national standard, I think we have to tell the American people the truth,” she said. “In order to develop a national standard, you need to have a majority of the House, 60 votes in the Senate and a president. We haven’t had 60 pro-life senators in 100 years,” Haley said.
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“So the idea that a Republican president could ban all abortions is not fair to the American people any more than a Democratic president could ban these pro-life laws in the states. So let’s be honest with the American people and let’s say, let’s find a national consensus,” she added.
“Let’s agree, you know, on eliminating late-term abortions. Let’s agree that we need more adoptions. Let’s agree that we need accessible contraception. Let’s agree that mothers shouldn’t be jailed or go, you know, to the death penalty for abortion,” she continued.
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Regardless of one’s personal opinion on abortion, Haley said there was no sign the Senate was anywhere near a consensus yet.
“I’m not going to lie to the American people. Nothing will happen if we do not get 60 votes in the Senate. We’re not even close to that on the Republican or Democratic side. Why try to further divide people? Haley said.
“Why not talk about the fact that we should try to save as many babies as possible and support as many mothers as possible? I think the media tried to divide them saying we have to decide some weeks. In the States, yes. At the federal level, this is not realistic. It’s not being honest with the American people,” she said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., last year introduced a bill allowing abortion within the first 15 weeks of pregnancy following the Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and sent the abortion issue back to the states to decide.
Graham received criticism from both parties for his bill, but defended his position that the federal rules would bring the United States into line with European countries that allow abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
“Chuck Schumer introduced legislation several months ago that would allow abortion on demand up to the moment of birth, like China and North Korea, for the whole nation,” Graham said on Fox News l ‘last year.
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“What did I do in response?” I said at 15 weeks when the baby can feel pain and suck his thumb that we are going to ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, life of the mother, we are talking about almost four months of pregnancy. It puts us in line with France, which is at 12 weeks. Germany, England are at 14 weeks. Only in Washington is it extreme to protect the baby at 15 weeks from an agonizing death,” Graham said.
Marjorie Dannenfelser chairwoman of the largest pro-life lobbying firm, Susan B. Anthony, president of Pro-Life America, said it was “not acceptable” to reject the idea of federal abortion rules.
“When Ambassador Haley talks about national consensus on late-term abortion, we agree. The consensus already exists. A poll shows that 72% of Americans support limiting abortions to at least 15 weeks, when the unborn child can experience excruciating pain,” Dannenfelser said.
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“The pro-life movement must have a candidate who will boldly champion this consensus and, as president, work tirelessly to garner the necessary votes in Congress. To dismiss this task as unrealistic is not acceptable,” she said.
Fox News Digital’s Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.
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