Where Things Stand: Another 2024 Republican Avoids Abortion Specifics

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CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 18: Republican presidential candidate, and former U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley greets attendees after speaking at the Vision ’24 National Conservative Forum March 18, 2023 in Cha... CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 18: Republican presidential candidate, and former U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley greets attendees after speaking at the Vision ’24 National Conservative Forum March 18, 2023 in Charleston, South Carolina. The event, hosted by the Palmetto Family Council, is intended to provide conservative politicians an opportunity to outline their vision for the United States ahead of the 2024 election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Republicans’ inability to find their footing in a post-Roe America remains an omnipresent issue not just for the GOP as a whole, but one that is increasingly tripping up nearly every Republican with 2024 ambitions.

As each election since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs‘ ruling last summer has demonstrated, voters are unhappy with Republicans’ extreme stances on abortion. The midterm red wave that wasn’t and the success of ballot initiatives in key red states was revealing of this phenomenon and Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race earlier this month further solidified the severity of the dilemma GOP hopefuls now face.

And none of the Republicans who are either running for president in 2024 or publicly flirting with the idea have managed to plant their flag on the issue in a way that’s not demonstrative of just how badly they’re flailing.

Last week, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, one of the nation’s largest anti-abortion organizations, put out a statement threatening to cut their support of Donald Trump in 2024 if he doesn’t come out in favor of a national ban. The group has been saying for at least the last month that it would not endorse any Republican candidates who didn’t bearhug a 15-week national ban, and Trump hasn’t gone that far, yet. His campaign recently said that Trump believes the high court was right in leaving the issue up to states.

Earlier this month Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who is weighing a 2024 bid, was criticized for his epically befuddling dodge on abortion while making the rounds in an early primary state. When asked whether he supports a national 15-week ban, he started yelling about Biden Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen instead.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who has never shied away from making a public spectacle of his extremism and who is expected to announce his bid at the end of Florida’s current legislative session, signed his state’s six-week abortion ban into law quietly from his office with no fanfare earlier this month. He’s barely spoke on the issue since.

And this week we have former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley dodging specifics during a press event today at the Susan B. Anthony List headquarters, talking in “pro-life” platitudes and offering truisms like, “at the federal level, the next president must find national consensus.” 

She also praised the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe last summer, arguing it awards states the freedom to “forge consensus once again,” in broader remarks that the Susan B. Anthony group is bound to criticize.

“Different people, in different places, are taking different paths,” she said of red states passing extreme bans in the wake of Dobbs and blue states broadening protections. “That’s what the Founders of our country envisioned. It’s the reality of living in a democracy.” 

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