Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley on Tuesday made an effort to counter how Democrats have seized on abortion as a campaign issue since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, as she delivered a speech on the subject in the Washington, D.C., area.
“The pro-life laws that have passed in strongly Republican states will not be approved at the federal level. That’s just a fact, notwithstanding what the Democrat fearmongers say,” said Haley, a former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who entered the White House race about two months ago.
“They know as well as anyone that no Republican president will have the ability to ban abortion nationwide.”
She suggested that a move like a ban could only come if the GOP has a U.S. House majority, a 60-vote Senate majority and a president who are all in a line, and that’s not likely because the GOP hasn’t held 60 Senate seats at the same time in more than 100 years.
In last year’s midterm elections, exit polls indicated that Haley’s party performed worse than expected in part because many Democrats and independents voters were energized by the Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established a constitutional right to an abortion.
At the same time as Haley played down the potential for a nationwide ban on abortion, she talked up her record on abortion, saying that as a state legislator she “voted for every pro-life bill that came before me.” She also stressed that she believes there is a federal-government role in abortion, and there are some areas of common ground.
“We should be able to agree that contraception should be more available, not less, and we can all agree that women who get abortions should not be jailed,” she said.
Haley’s speech comes as she has spent months at third or fourth place in polls in the 2024 Republican primary, well behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and just ahead or just behind former Vice President Mike Pence. She’s getting support of around 4%, while Trump’s at 52%, DeSantis gets 23% and Pence also draws about 4%, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polling.
Related: Here are the Republicans running for president — or seen potential 2024 candidates
During her speech, the former ambassador went after President Joe Biden, who officially announced his re-election bid earlier Tuesday. She accused him of doing “nothing to discourage” some activists who have set fire to pregnancy resource centers run by anti-abortion groups.
“We need a president who unites Americans and brings out the best in them, even on the toughest subject. That will be my approach,” she said.
“We’re not just talking about policy. We’re talking about people. That’s often lost in this debate on the left and the right.”
Haley delivered her remarks at the Arlington, Va., offices of an anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, speaking to roughly 70 people, many of them reporters or camera operators. The group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, introduced the ex-governor to the audience, saying Haley “has decided something very important, and that is to lead, to go toward the issue and not to run away.”
One abortion-rights group, NARAL Pro-Choice America, criticized the Republican presidential candidate after her speech, saying in a statement that Haley “tied herself into knots while ‘courting moderates,’” and “the policy she would enact as president is as dangerous as it is unpopular.”
This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.