Updated Apr 25, 2023, 4:27pm EDT
politicsNorth America

What the 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls think about abortion limits

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque, Marco Bello, Sarah Silbiger

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The News

With abortion to play a major role in the 2024 U.S. presidential race — the first since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — the Republican party has yet to reach a consensus on the issue.

Specifically, there is an ongoing debate over whether the federal government should set a nationwide abortion ban, rather than a state-by-state approach.

While the early GOP field all remain opposed to abortion, the candidates are beginning to stake out positions on the question of federal limits. Here’s what they have said about it so far.

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Nikki Haley

Speaking at the headquarters of a leading anti-abortion group Tuesday, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley blamed the media for “pitting Americans against each other” when it came to abortion. She said the U.S. needed to come up with a “national consensus” on the issue, without explicitly stating her own view on abortion limits.

The Republican hopeful, who is currently the only woman running for president, also touted her own anti-abortion record as governor.

“My goal as president will be the same as it was when I was governor and [UN] ambassador: I want to save as many lives and help as many moms as possible,” she said. She praised the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last summer, saying it allowed states “free to forge consensus again.”

Donald Trump

Since his 2020 presidential campaign, former President Donald Trump has often avoided talking about his views on abortion, fearing that he would lose voters who support abortion rights. However, Trump has privately told advisers that the issue should be decided by states.

“President Donald J. Trump believes that the Supreme Court, led by the three Justices which he supported, got it right when they ruled this is an issue that should be decided at the State level,” Steven Cheung, Trump’s campaign spokesman, said in a statement earlier this month.

Anti-abortion groups blasted the former president for the statement, saying that not allowing abortion restrictions to be determined on a federal level was a “morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate.”

Asa Hutchinson

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson said that he would sign a 15-week national abortion ban into law if he were president –– a change from his previous stance which asserted that the issue should be left to individual states to decide.

In response to questions about imposing a nationwide ban on abortion on Fox News Sunday, Hutchinson said that “a pro-life bill that comes to me that sets reasonable restrictions, but also has the appropriate exceptions, yes I would sign it.”

Vivek Ramaswamy

The “anti-woke” businessman told ABC News over the weekend that he is “unapologetically pro-life.” Last month, he told NBC News that he opposes a federal abortion ban. He said it is a “states rights issue.”

Tim Scott

The day after announcing he was exploring a presidential run, the South Carolina senator stumbled over questions about his stance on federal abortion limits, saying, “That is something that we have to discuss.”

A couple of days later, Scott said he supports a federal abortion ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would sign such a bill into law if he’s elected president.

Ron DeSantis

The Florida governor, who is eyeing a presidential run, quietly signed a six-week abortion ban for his state into law earlier this month. He has emphasized other issues over abortion and has not publicly taken a firm stance on the question of a federal ban.

The Washington Post reported that he privately told a group of New Hampshire GOP activists this month that abortion is now an issue that’s in the purview of the states.

Mike Pence

The former vice president, who is considering a 2024 run, broke with his former running mate on the issue of a federal ban, telling CBS News over the weekend that “this isn't a states-only decision.” He said the American people “would welcome a minimum national standard [of] 15 weeks.”

Chris Christie

During an interview with Semafor this month, the former New Jersey governor, who is also considering a bid, said he doesn't support a federal abortion ban.

“I would not be for the federal government being involved in the issue of abortion in any way. I believe the states should make the decisions,” he told Semafor's Steve Clemons.