The Republican Presidential Candidates’ Positions on Abortion

Elections & Politics Policy Brief #79 | By: Abigail Hunt | June 13, 2023
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This is the first in a series o US RENEW NEWS Briefs on the views of Republican Presidential candidates on key public policy issues.

The ever-expanding field of 2024 Presidential candidates for the GOP nomination includes several current or former politicians, including governors from Arkansas, South Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, and North Dakota, an ex-President, an ex-Vice President, an entrepreneur of biotech and health care, a Midwestern businessperson, and a conservative radio host. As per usual, the candidate options tend to be older, white, and male, but there is some diversity with two African American and two Indian American candidates, one of whom is the only female so far in the running. With the number already in the double digits so early in the race, it looks to increase further before the nominee is found.  

Overloading the candidate pool may very well help cement another Trump-Biden head-to-head, only the future will tell. In the interim, it is necessary to know where each potential nominee stands on pressing issues such as abortion, immigration, education, and race. The information for these candidate reviews is gleaned from various press reports and candidate and government websites. This is not a comprehensive breakdown of each candidate’s views but a taste of them.

The following focuses on abortion. Overall, each candidate supports banning abortion at some level, limiting women’s access to care and cementing our international infamy of having the worst maternal health outcomes of any developed nation, at a rate of more than 17 deaths per 100,000 births. With reduced abortion access, it is guaranteed that more women will die from childbirth alone, not to mention from botched procedures from unlicensed practitioners or from complications from self-abortion attempts. 



Nikki Haley, who was U.N. Ambassador under Trump and the 116th Governor of South Carolina for six years before that, supports a federal abortion ban. During her stint as governor, Haley signed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks (about 4 and a half months). 

Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech and health care entrepreneur with a bachelor’s in biology – so clearly an expert on women’s bodies – supports an even earlier ban, advocating to outlaw abortions after six weeks. Many women do not even know they are pregnant until much further along. 

Asa Hutchinson, former Arkansas governor, congressperson, and attorney – and a white man in his 70s – said in 2014 he would sign a 12-week abortion ban into law as Governor, and in 2022 celebrated the overturn of Roe.

Larry Elder, conservative talk radio host, is a loud critic of abortion access, calling Roe disastrous when he celebrated the SCOTUS ruling that eliminated federal protection of safe access to legal abortions.

South Carolina Governor who prides himself on being a Southern Black Republican, Tim Scott is vocally anti-abortion, posting often about it on social media over the past several years. 

Chris Christie, former governor of New Jersey, opposes abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother, but falls short of supporting a federal abortion ban, citing his strong belief in states’ rights, something that might win him some points with conservatives or liberals willing to vote red. As governor, Christie vetoed millions in funding for Planned Parenthood. 

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum proved in April of this year that not all people who wear glasses make smart decisions by signing one of the strictest abortion bans in the country, banning all pregnancy terminations, with rare exception for health, rape, and incest, after six weeks’ gestation. 

Perry Johnson, a mid-70s white man with a bachelor’s degree and no political experience, like many of his kind heard the siren call of the Republican party and rushed to join. Johnson says he would pardon Trump and believes in zero exceptions for abortion, advocating for a total ban and ensuring that women would be forced to give birth to children that are the results of rape and incest. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence is a vocal opponent of abortion access, opposing the use of mifepristone, a medication sometimes used to induce labor in a case which can cause an abortion but is also used to induce labor for live births. 

At a CNN town hall in May, Trump patted himself on the back for his Supreme Court Justice appointments, claiming responsibility for the overturn of Roe v. Wade. While Trump has previously stated he thought abortion should be a state decision, in recent months to garner support from anti-abortion groups, Trump has changed his tune by insinuating he would support a federal ban. 

In spring 2023,  Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law on abortion after six weeks, further restricting the state’s existing 15-week ban, which is currently under review in the state’s Supreme Court. These candidates do not have to worry, as DeSantis tops off a list of candidates who, like Donald Trump, will always have access to abortion if they need it, because they are rich.


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