Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley had the nerve to pretend she’s a moderate on abortion issues, in a speech given Tuesday at an organization pushing a national ban on the procedure.
Haley spoke at the national headquarters of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, the anti-abortion organization that aggressively turned on Donald Trump after he said abortion rights should be decided by individual states instead of federally banned.
Most of the points Haley included are either not real or only occur in extreme circumstances. Fetuses are rarely “born alive” during an abortion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts have warned that bills requiring care be given to fetuses “born alive” could negatively affect care for babies born prematurely or with fatal abnormalities by preventing doctors from helping relieve any pain those babies might be in, or punishing medical professionals who let families hold such newborns before they die.
Republicans like Haley often argue that abortions are conducted up until the moment of birth. That does not happen. Abortions that occur in the second trimester are most often for wanted pregnancies that develop complications, rendering them unviable and possibly a threat to the pregnant person’s life. (Less than 1 percent of abortions take place in the third trimester, for similar reasons.)
Haley also tried to appear moderate on certain points that are only issues because of what her fellow Republicans are doing. She said people who get abortions shouldn’t be jailed, as was suggested in a few Republican-backed state-level bills deemed so extreme that they failed. She also said there should be wider access to contraception, even as Republicans have repeatedly voted against expanding availability.
Haley has generally adopted a waffly stance on abortion since announcing her campaign. Abortion wins elections, and Haley can’t afford to alienate anyone, so she’s trying to find a middle lane that will win over both sides. But during her speech Tuesday, she essentially admitted that she can’t be trusted on abortion when she brought up her own record.
Haley voted for multiple bills while she was a state senator in South Carolina that restricted abortion access or gave rights to fetuses. As governor, she signed a ban on abortion at 20 weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest. She claimed the time limit was to prevent fetuses from feeling pain, even though the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that fetuses don’t feel pain until at least 24 weeks of gestation.
If Haley were really interested in a “national consensus” on abortion, she could look at the numbers. Almost two-thirds of Americans think abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to the Pew Research Center.
But it’s clear she doesn’t care all that much. You can take her word for it.