Nikki Haley, the Republican presidential candidate, rejected to accept a federal abortion ban on Sunday, saying it would be dishonest for a Republican to guarantee such an unrealistic future to the American people.
In an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Haley, who was ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, said, “For a national standard, I think we have to tell the American people the truth.”
She noted the political realities of passing federal legislation through Congress: “In order to do a national standard, you’d have to have a majority of the House, 60 Senate votes and a president. We haven’t had 60 pro-life senators in 100 years.
“So the idea that a Republican president could ban all abortions is not being honest with the American people, any more than a Democrat president could ban these pro-life laws in the states,” Haley said. “So let’s be honest with the American people and say: Let’s find national consensus. Let’s agree on getting rid of late-term abortions.”
Margaret Brennan of CBS News observed that Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who is considering a presidential bid next year, recently approved a 20-week abortion ban “so he is picking a week” of gestation before asking Haley: “Some of your fellow Republicans are.” “Why do you think that’s misdirection?”
Haley said that endorsing a precise number of weeks of pregnancy would be impractical given the Senate filibuster’s possibility to stand in the way of a strong federal ban.
“I’m not going to lie to the American people. Nothing’s going to happen if we don’t get 60 votes in the Senate. We’re not even close to that on the Republican or the Democrat side,” she said.
“Why try and divide people further? Why not talk about the fact that we should be trying to save as many babies as possible and support as many mothers as possible?” Haley added. “I think the media has tried to divide them by saying we have to decide certain weeks. In states, yes. At the federal level, it’s not realistic. It’s not being honest with the American people.”
Haley recently advocated for “consensus” on abortion, dismissing the argument over exceptions and weeks of pregnancy as unimportant. She did, however, state unequivocally that she sees a federal role.
“My goal as president will be the same as it was when I was governor and ambassador: I want to save as many lives and help as many moms as possible,” Haley said last month. “At the federal level, the next president must find national consensus.”