CLEVELAND, August 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – At the first major Republican debate last night, Mike Huckabee promised a “bolder” stance on abortion than any other candidate, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker clarified their position on abortion exceptions, and Donald Trump said he had “evolved” to the pro-life position.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, said he would apply the Constitution's protections to the unborn at once.
“I’ve actually taken the position that’s bolder than” adopting a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution, he said. “The next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception.”
“This notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child’s Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law,” he added.
President Barack Obama has used his own interpretation of the Constitution to decline to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act and other legislation.
Huckabee repeated his campaign statement that “the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being” before saying the American government must stop Planned Parenthood from harvesting fetal organs “like they’re parts to a Buick.”
The debate then turned to exceptions – with most candidates denying that believed that any circumstance should interfere with a child's right to life.
Gov. Scott Walker signed a fetal pain abortion ban this summer, saying he objected to the exception for the life of the mother. Asked by moderator Megyn Kelly if he would “really let a mother die rather than have an abortion,” Walker replied that “there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven.”
Doctors in the United States and around the world have agreed that, while not every baby can be saved, scientific advances make it possible for medical personnel to try to save both lives. Others have said that treating mothers with ectopic pregnancies is “not considered abortion by the profession since there is no intent to harm the unborn child.”
Another exception – in the instance of rape – came up when Marco Rubio was asked if he favored abortion in that circumstance. “I have never said that. And I have never advocated that,” the Florida senator said. “I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws – whether they can vote or not, whether they can speak or not, whether they can hire a lawyer or not, whether they have a birth certificate or not.”
In one of the strongest applause lines of the night, Rubio said, “I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.”
Most of the debate fire centered on Donald Trump, the clear frontrunner in every poll and the target of the harshest questions from the Fox News panel.
Trump – the only candidate who did not promise not to run as an independent candidate in 2016 if he is not the Republican nominee – once described himself as “very pro-choice.”
“Since then, I’ve very much evolved,” Trump answered, citing Ronald Reagan, who as governor of California signed one of the most liberal abortion laws in the nation. “I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also sought to establish his credential on abortion, saying, “I’m a conservative, pro-life governor in a state where it is really tough to be both.”
In the predecessor debate for the bottom seven Republican hopefuls – dubbed by some the “happy hour debate,” since it took place at 5 p.m. – a few notes of dissension crept in. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, the 17th and last candidate to enter the presidential race, said there should be no “litmus test” for Supreme Court justices over abortion.
Only one candidate, former New York Gov. George Pataki, said Roe v. Wade should remain the law of the land.
The definition of marriage played less of a role in either debate, following the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges this summer, redefining marriage as open to any two adults.
In the 5 p.m. event, former Sen. Rick Santorum cited his role on abortion to say he would continue fighting the ruling. After a court invalidated his first piece of legislation banning partial birth abortion, he authored a second, which outlawed the practice.
Others believed the issue was divisive and had no place in presidential politics, since the High Court has spoken.
“I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“Issues like that are planted to divide us,” said Kasich, who had a large crowd of supporters on hand for the event.
The Catholic-turned-Anglican cited Christianity twice last night: Once when defending his expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare, and once when saying that he loves his homosexual friends unconditionally, because “that’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith.”