Politics

The ultimate pro-life guide to the 2016 Republican candidates

CNN GOP 2016 Debate

With Republican presidential contenders vigorously trading attacks and disputing each other’s accounts of their records, it can sometimes seem overwhelming to sort out fact from bluster. Everybody says they’re pro-life, everybody says they’re against Planned Parenthood, and more than one of them say they’re the most pro-life.

So, in the interest of helping pro-lifers cut through the spin, we are pleased to present the following comprehensive, unbiased guide to all five remaining GOP candidates’ positions and records, on every major aspect of the right to life. No matter what you want to know about the field, odds are you’ll find the answer here.

Ben Carson, Retired Neurosurgeon:

  • Position: pro-life without rape or incest exceptions, says life-of-the-mother cases must be assessed on a case-by-case basis but are “largely a spurious argument” thanks to medical advances
  • Was “personally opposed” but pro-choice in 1992, says reflecting on slavery made him pro-life. In August 2015, a campaign spokesman made unclear statements suggesting abortion is “not a matter of legality” so much a matter of “hearts and minds”
  • Voting Record: none, as Carson is not a previous officeholder
  • Long-Term Solution: unknown
  • Roe v. Wade: supports overturning
  • Judicial Nominees: seeks judges with pro-life records
  • 20-Week Abortion Ban: supports
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood: supports, and supported the strategy to withhold PP funds through budget resolution process
  • Planned Parenthood Crimes: supports prosecution
  • Parental Notification: unknown
  • Ultrasounds: supports
  • Abortifacients: supports the morning-after pill
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research: opposes
  • Other:
    • Known for scathing rhetoric about the “heathen” nature of abortion
    • Persuaded a mother not to abort a preborn baby with hydrocephalus
    • Served as a Baltimore Community Foundation trustee while it gave over $200,000 to Planned Parenthood
    • Opposes confirming a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia until the next president is in office

Ted Cruz, Texas Senator:

  • Position: pro-life without rape or incest exceptions, with life-of-the-mother exception
  • Voting Record: 100% pro-life with National Right to Life Committee, 0% pro-choice with Planned Parenthood & NARAL
  • Long-Term Solution: supports Congressional action to extend 14th Amendment protection to preborn babies, as well as a personhood amendment to the US Constitution
  • Roe v. Wade: supports overturning
  • Judicial Nominees: seeks “rock-ribbed conservatives” with “long paper trail[s] as principled conservative jurists”
  • 20-Week Abortion Ban: supports
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood: supports, and was a leading advocate of the strategy to withhold PP funds through budget resolution process
  • Planned Parenthood Crimes: supports prosecution
  • Parental Notification: supports
  • Ultrasounds: unknown, but pledges to “sign any legislation put on my desk to defend the least of these”
  • Abortifacients: opposes
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research: opposes
  • Other:
    • Defended various pro-life laws from lawsuits as Texas Solicitor General
    • Proposes judicial retention elections as a check against judicial activism
    • Pledges to filibuster any Obama nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia

John Kasich, Ohio Governor:

  • Position: pro-life with rape, incest, and life-of-the-mother exceptions
  • Voting Record: 100% pro-life with National Right to Life Committee, 0% pro-choice with Planned Parenthood & NARAL, and his actions as governor have been consistently pro-life
  • Long-Term Solution: unknown
  • Roe v. Wade: says it’s “the law of the land now and we live with the law of the land”; a campaign spokesman refused to clarify whether he wants Roe overturned
  • Judicial Nominees: seeks nominees who practice “judicial restraint” and who could receive bipartisan support
  • 20-Week Abortion Ban: supports
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood: supports, but opposed the strategy to withhold PP funds through budget resolution process
  • Planned Parenthood Crimes: supports investigation, but has not called for prosecution
  • Parental Notification: supports
  • Ultrasounds: supports
  • Abortifacients: unknown
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research: opposes
  • Other:
    • Says abortion is “an important issue” but “we focus too much” on it
    • Says it would be preferable if Obama left replacing Justice Antonin Scalia to the next president, but has not said what should be done if he doesn’t

Marco Rubio, Florida Senator:

  • Position: pro-life without rape or incest exceptions, with life-of-the-mother exception
  • Voting Record: 100% pro-life with National Right to Life Committee, 0% pro-choice with Planned Parenthood & NARAL
  • Long-Term Solution: says the Constitution already guarantees legal protection for the preborn, but has not specified a means of implementing it
  • Roe v. Wade: supports overturning
  • Judicial Nominees: seeks judges who understand Roe was wrongly decided
  • 20-Week Abortion Ban: supports
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood: supports, but did not support the strategy to withhold PP funds through budget resolution process
  • Planned Parenthood Crimes: supports prosecution
  • Parental Notification: supports
  • Ultrasounds: supports
  • Abortifacients: supports the morning-after pill
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research: opposes
  • Other:
    • Says future generations will “call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies”
    • Supports term limits for federal judges as a check against judicial activism (unknown if that includes Supreme Court)
    • Opposes confirming a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia until the next president is in office

Donald Trump, Real Estate Mogul:

  • Position: pro-life with rape, incest, and life-of-the-mother exceptions
  • Trump was “very pro-choice” including partial-birth abortion in 1999, & was unable to clearly state if abortion was murder in January 2015. Became pro-life sometime prior to 2011, citing the birth of a friend’s child
  • Voting Record: none, as Trump is not a previous officeholder
  • Long-Term Solution: unknown
  • Roe v. Wade: supports overturning
  • Judicial Nominees: seeks judges who do not “legislate from the bench” and are conservative
  • However, specific names he’s suggested are mixed—11th Circuit Judge Bill Pryor is staunchly pro-life, but 7th Circuit Judge Diane Sykes struck down Indiana’s defunding of Planned Parenthood, and 3rd Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, his sister, upheld partial birth abortion (Trump later claimed he was joking about his sister)
  • 20-Week Abortion Ban: supports
  • Defunding Planned Parenthood: supports, and supported the strategy to withhold PP funds through budget resolution process.
  • However, has made inconsistent past statements about PP retaining partial funding for non-abortion services
  • Planned Parenthood Crimes: unknown
  • Parental Notification: unknown
  • Ultrasounds: unknown
  • Abortifacients: unknown
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research: undecided in 2011
  • Other:
    • Considered pro-abortion former Sen. Scott Brown as running mate
    • Donated heavily to pro-abortion Democrat candidates in the past
    • Opposes confirming a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia until a new president is in office

See also: Essential Pro-Life Questions for the Next GOP Debate

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