Former US Vice President Mike Pence urged his Republican rivals on Friday to support the principle of a federal law restricting abortion deadlines nationwide, in an effort to put himself at the forefront of a debate he accuses favorite Donald Trump of evading.
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Almost a year after the Supreme Court struck down federal abortion protections, Mr. Pence, who is running for president in 2024, has issued a challenge to his rivals.
“The reality is that abortion law in the United States is more consistent with China and North Korea than it is with Western countries in Europe,” he claimed at the Road to Majority conference, which includes 3,000 evangelical conservatives in Washington.
“So I want to say this from the bottom of my heart. Every Republican presidential candidate should support a 15-week abortion ban as a national minimum rule.”
Mike Pence did not mention his former boss, but his speech seemed directed at Donald Trump, who sees the religious right as important to his victory in 2016 and remains so for his current ambitions to return to the White House.
The former president pleased conservatives by appointing three justices to the Supreme Court. On June 24, 2022, the Temple of Law reverted to the famous “Roe at Wade” ruling, which since 1973 has guaranteed a federal right to abortion.
But anti-abortion activists are bemused that Mr. Trump refuses to publicly support a nationwide abortion ban, even as he brags about his role in turning the Supreme Court around.
Mr. Trump also warned against a tendency to go too far to the right, and suggested that anti-abortion activists were responsible for Republicans’ lackluster results in the recent midterm elections.
“Some (Republicans) who will be speaking on the same platform will say that … nothing should be done at the federal level,” Pence said, referring to Mr Trump’s criticism.
Others will say that continuing the fight for life can lead to very harsh laws in the states. Some have even gone so far as to blame Roe V. Wade’s repeal for the 2022 election losses, he said, repeating the word “life,” the leitmotif of “pro-life” (anti-abortion) activists.
“But let me say it from the bottom of my heart: (…) life is the cause of our age. And we cannot rest until we have restored the sanctity of life to the center of American law in every state in this country.”
The Road to Majority convention brings all major Republican candidates on the same stage for the first time, two months before the first Republican presidential debate scheduled for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee.
Mr. Trump is scheduled to speak at the convention on Saturday, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, also the GOP primary candidate, later on Friday.