In a move likely to be unpopular with a large segment of her network's viewership, Fox News personality Martha MacCallum referred to abortion as a “losing issue” for pro-life Republicans in the upcoming 2024 presidential contest, as Breitbart reports.
Referencing ballot initiatives held since the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the landmark abortion decision of Roe v. Wade, it appeared to some observers that MacCallum was attempting to nudge the GOP hopefuls on the stage in a leftward direction.
While teeing up her prepared question on the subject, MacCallum began, “Abortion has been a losing issue for Republicans since the Dobbs decision.
“In six state referendums, all have upheld abortion rights in this country. Even in red states, there are more swing state referendums that are coming up as we head into the elections as well on this,” she added.
MacCallum then solicited the candidates' individual stances on whether the matter is indeed best left to individual states or if a federal ban – such as one that would prohibit abortion after 15 weeks' gestation – is something that should be pursued.
Though many Fox News viewers would likely take issue with MacCallum's failure to mention the multiple state-level pro-life victories that have been won in the wake of the Dobbs ruling, her premise succeeded in sparking a lively back-and-forth, particularly between former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former Vice President Mike Pence.
As the New York Post recounted, Haley declared herself an “unapologetically pro-life” candidate, but suggested that it was necessary for her party to be “honest with the American people” about the obstacles in the way of enacting any sort of federal ban.
Specifically, Haley noted, “It will take 60 Senate votes, it will take a majority of the House,” something she deemed extremely unlikely, if not impossible, calling instead for a consensus building strategy.
Haley continued, “Can't we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can't we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can't we all agree that doctors and nurses who don't believe in abortion shouldn't have to perform them?”
“Can't we all agree that contraception should be available? And can't we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion,” the only female on the debate stage went on.
Long noted for his firmly held Christian beliefs, Pence argued for a much stronger stance than Haley was willing to adopt in terms of seeking a federal abortion ban, as Fox News reported.
Speaking directly to Haley, Pence said, “You're my friend, but consensus is the opposite of leadership. When the Supreme Court returned this question to the American people, they didn't just send it to the states only – it is not a states-only issue. It is a moral issue.”
Spelling out his plans should he win the nation's top job, Pence said, “It is going to take unapologetic leadership – leadership that stands on principle and expresses compassion for women in crisis pregnancies – I will do that as president of the United States.”
The intense discussion on the debate stage prompted a swift response from President Joe Biden's' reelection campaign in the form of a new online advertising spot set to run in key battleground states. In it, the ad's narrator warned of the threat to abortion rights posed by “MAGA Republicans” and emphatically stated that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris “will never allow a national abortion ban to become law.” Whether MacCallum's hypothesis that the issue is a losing one for Republicans ultimately proves true, however, only time will tell.
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