National pro-life leaders are weighing in on the attacks waged against Sen. Marco Rubio by GOP rivals Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush that he is too pro-life because he does not favor abortion in the cases of pregnancy brought about due to rape or incest.
“Chris Christie and Jeb Bush have betrayed their pro-life supporters and shown an astonishing lack of understanding of what it means to be pro-life,” Student for Life of America Kristan Hawkins tells Breitbart News. “Attacking another GOP candidate for being ‘too pro-life’ is going to be a losing strategy for them.”
As Breitbart News reported, Christie responded to a question about abortion during the New Hampshire GOP debate that he eliminated Planned Parenthood’s state funding in New Jersey six times. He also reminded voters that Hillary Clinton supports the organization that has been exposed as trying to “maximize the value of their [aborted babies’] body parts on the open market.”
Christie added, however, that he defends an exception for abortion in the case of rape as a means of “self-defense” for women.
“The fact is, that I believe that if a woman has been raped, that is a birth and a pregnancy that she should be able to terminate,” he said. “If she is the victim of incest — this is not a woman’s choice. This is a woman being violated.”
Bush claimed to be “the most pro-life person” on the debate stage, citing Florida’s ban on partial-birth abortion, parental notification, and Choose Life license plates to raise money for adoptions. Bush added, however, “I think we have to be cognizant of the fact there’s a lot of people that are concerned about having a pro-life position without any exceptions,” a comment that suggests a pro-life position with no exceptions for abortion could be politically unpopular.
“Morally speaking, there is not an exception one could imagine in a million years that would justify a single abortion,” national director of Priests for Life Father Frank Pavone tells Breitbart News. “Every child must be protected, by law, at every stage of development.”
Hawkins added that candidates’ “desperation to try to score a cheap political point damages the entire pro-life movement and their credibility.”
“They should instead be talking about the radical abortion extremism of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and the Democratic Party, who support abortion on demand, for any reason, up until the moment of birth, and paid for by the taxpayers,” she said.
A president should do everything she can not just to protect reproductive rights, but to advance them.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 27, 2016
Rubio – who defends only the extremely rare case of abortion to save the life of the mother – responded, “Here’s what I find outrageous. There have been five Democratic debates. The media has not asked them a single question on abortion, and on abortion, the Democrats are extremists.”
Rubio continued that, if elected president, he would, nevertheless, sign a law that bans abortions with exceptions, since it would still save lives.
“But I do believe deeply that all human life is worthy of the protection of laws. I’ve already said, for me, the issue of life is not a political issue and I want to be frank,” he said. “I would rather lose an election than be wrong on the issue of life.”
“Marco Rubio and Chris Christie both pointed out the extremism of the Democratic candidates on abortion, and that is the first thing that needs more attention,” Pavone says. “There is no child in the womb that the Democratic candidates or their party are willing to protect by law. If elected, they will not lift a finger for these children.”
“By contrast, every one of the Republican contenders is ready to advance the protection of these children in a substantial way, and in their responses, the candidates made specific reference to things they have done in the past and are willing to do in the future for the children in the womb,” he adds.
Pavone continues on the form discussion about abortion takes during the campaign season and the types of debate questions that are typically asked:
When candidates discuss their abortion positions, the focus of the discussion is usually misplaced and often has nothing to do with the actual decisions that candidate will need to make when elected. The discussion should not be an abstract debate about morality or philosophy, but a concrete assessment of what the candidate is willing to do, according to the authority he will have if elected, to advance the protection of children in the womb.
Pavone would like to see the candidates discuss more about their plans of action to protect the unborn.
“At this point in our political history, none of them as President will be presented with a bill to protect every unborn child without exception,” Pavone explains. “So the debate about where each of them draws the line in terms of these exceptions is a debate about something they will never be asked to do.”
“I’d rather see their plan of action than their moral philosophy,” he adds. “Rather than asking the candidates what they believe, let’s ask them what they are willing to do. Will they sign bills defunding Planned Parenthood, protecting children capable of feeling pain at 20 weeks of development or more, and protecting children from dismemberment abortion?”