CLEVELAND — Pro-life advocates declared Carly Fiorina the “stand-out” candidate in the afternoon GOP debateThursday, and said the field overall shows pro-life stances continue to advance within the Republican Party.
Even former New York Gov. George Pataki, who is pro-choice, announced his support for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, embracing the late-term bans that have swept conservative states throughout the country, and are being tested in the courts.
“Republican candidates can no longer just call themselves ‘pro-life,’ they must, at a minimum, support this common sense legislative proposal to remove the United States off the list of only seven nations to allow abortion on demand after five months,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a leading pro-life group.
Mr. Pataki and other candidates in the debate — the precursor to the night’s more prominent affair with 10 top-tier GOP candidates — said they would strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood in the wake of videos seemingly showing organization employees negotiating details of the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.
Even Mr. Pataki, who said he does not support fighting to overturn the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that established a national right to abortion, said he would defund Planed Parenthood, saying it has shown “a hideous disrespect for life.”
“You know, Hillary Clinton’s always saying how Republicans don’t follow science — well, they’re the ones not listening to the scientists today, because doctors say that at 20 weeks that is a viable life inside the womb. And at that point, it’s a life that we have the right to protect, and I think we should protect,” Mr. Pataki said.
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As for Ms. Fiorina, Ms. Dannenfelser said she was the winner, and said it was good for the GOP to have a strongly pro-life woman on stage.
“There could not be a bigger contrast between Carly Fiorina and Hillary Clinton, who continues to defend Planned Parenthood despite mounting evidence of their callousness and brutality,” she said.
Democrats, though, countered that the GOP is repeating its stances of 2012, when its nominee, Mitt Romney, was accused of waging a “war on women” over his stance on abortion and his opposition to a bill that would have opened more avenues for women to sue over potential pay disparities.
“They are outdated, out of touch and out of line,” said Holly Shulman, press secretary at the Democratic National Committee.