GOP presidential candidates flocked to the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual conference on Friday to present their positions on abortion to religious Republicans, a year after the repeal of the Roe vs. Wade.
While all of the candidates assented to the «pro-life» movement, some stopped short of supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C.’s proposal for a fifteen–federal abortion ban week, which he has called on the Republican presidential candidates to support. Here’s where the candidates stand so far:
Former Vice President Mike Pence
Pence, known for his strong position on abortion throughout his political career, endorsed Graham’s bill in his remarks.
«I want to say with all my heart that all Republican presidential candidates should support banning abortions before 15 weeks as the national minimum standard.»
Pence was the only candidate to specifically support Graham’s bill on the first day of the conference.
Ramaswamy, who is the youngest candidate and the only millennial running, gave a short quote on abortion: «Unborn life is life.»
Ramaswamy did not go into detail about what kind of policies he would support, focusing instead on other agenda items like repealing affirmative action and sending military troops to the southern border.
Ramaswamy has previously said he does not support a federal ban on abortion.
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson
Hutchinson proudly touted his long-standing «pro-life» record at the conference, saying it was his «honor to sign more than 30 pro-life bills» during his time as governor. He said he plans to sign a federal abortion ban if he is elected president.
“As president, I would fight to make sure that taxpayer funds are not used to support abortion. And if Congress acts, I will sign a federal law to restrict abortion.»
Hutchinson focused on legislation that decertified Planned Parenthood from Medicaid in Arkansas, as well as other legislation she supports, particularly on gender issues.
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott
Scott briefly addressed the issue of abortion at the beginning of his speech:
“Thank God Almighty for Dobbs’ decision. … We are creating a culture of life in America, and that is a good thing.”
Scott steered away from the topic for the rest of his speech. He previously he has said that he would support the 20-week abortion ban in the past, and has also said that he would sign the most conservative abortion legislation Congress would pass.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez
Suarez stayed away from details about what kind of abortion policy he would support, but the Miami mayor did share his own personal story as «a product of the pro-life movement,» noting that his parents met at an anti-abortion rally. He also shared the struggles he and his wife faced with infertility, and asked the crowd to pray for the Supreme Court justices as they «weather the storm of criticism for protecting innocent life.»
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
The former New Jersey governor’s stance as an «unabashedly pro-life Republican» was welcomed, at least until Christie was vehemently booed for his hardline stance against former President Donald Trump.
“And to be pro-life, I suggest to all of you, it has to be longer than nine months in the womb,” Christie said. “Every life, they taught me, is a precious gift from God. And that life and its gift does not end when the child is born, it only begins. And our needs to protect that life only begin then.»
Christie did not elaborate on whether he would support a federal ban.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
DeSantis stuck by the state’s six-week abortion ban he signed in April, but would not commit to Graham’s proposal for a federal 15-week ban.
“We have also delivered in Florida in promoting a culture of life,” DeSantis said. “And that means enacting the heartbeat bill that protects unborn children when there is a detectable heartbeat. That was the right thing to do. Don’t let anyone tell you it wasn’t.»
While DeSantis has signed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country, he hasn’t gone much further on the campaign trail than promoting it in his campaign speech.
Former President Donald Trump will close the conference on Saturday night, when he delivers a keynote address.