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Mace champions Haley’s message on abortion: ‘We have to be pro-woman and pro-life’

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) on Sunday backed Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s position on abortion and said it’s important for the GOP to be “pro-woman” and “pro-life.”

In an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” Mace praised her state’s former governor for her comments on abortion, specifically for their emphasis on the importance of not demonizing women who make the difficult decision of getting an abortion. Mace also praised Haley for her focus on providing more resources for women to make it easier for them to choose to stay pregnant.

“Certainly every candidate talked about being pro-life and what their limits may or may not be. But the only candidate on the stage that talked about how we should protect women and not demonize them was Nikki Haley. And that is a message that we have to carry through. We have to be pro-woman and pro-life,” Mace said.

“You cannot go after women and attack them because they make a choice that you don’t like or do not agree with. Because it’s a very sensitive subject right now. We want to show that we are going to protect women who’ve been raped, girls who are victims of incest.”

Haley, on the debate stage, stressed that she is “unapologetically pro-life” but also made the point that a federal ban would not likely get the 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster threshold in the Senate, adding that it’s important “to stop demonizing this issue.”

“Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can’t we all agree that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortion shouldn’t have to perform them? Can’t we all agree that contraception should be available? And can’t we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion?” Haley said on the debate stage Wednesday. 

“Let’s treat this like the respectful issue that it is and humanize the situation and stop demonizing the situation,” Haley added.

Mace — who is pro-life but has advocated for access to birth control, greater childcare services and exceptions for rape or incest — has long pushed her party to take a similar position to Haley. A moderate Republican and a rape victim herself, Mace has called out her party for failing to demonstrate that being “pro-life” extends to the life of the mother. She recently called on her party, which holds the majority in the House, to pair any legislative action it takes against abortion with action that supports women.

“We want to make sure that every woman in this country, regardless of where she lives, or how much money she makes, that she has access to birth control,” Mace said in the interview Sunday. “Those are the kinds of things that really matter to women. And we have to show that we care.”

On the debate stage, all Republican candidates touted their pro-life credentials, but Haley delivered the boldest message about the importance of not attacking women for their positions.

She wasn’t the only candidate, however, to raise the importance of protecting women in the dialogue about abortion. 

Republican candidate Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor, said his state “has the record of being the most pro-life state in the nation. I’ve signed 30 pro-life pieces of legislation while I was governor. And every state can determine a different outcome here. And it is the most important issue for women and for the unborn child and for our country that we get this right. It’s going to be a continued debate.”

He added: “Let’s talk about it in terms of compassion, in terms of protecting the life and also understanding how we have to enhance abortion — excuse me, adoption services. How we have to enhance maternal care. Those things we’ve done in Arkansas and are important for our nation’s future.”

Tags 2024 presidential election Asa Hutchinson Nancy Mace Nikki Haley