Republican Tim Scott dodges questions on abortion as he explores presidential bid: ‘I am 100% pro-life’

‘I am certainly 100 per cent pro-life without a question’

Namita Singh
Thursday 13 April 2023 06:45 BST
Senator Tim Scott tours the Marion Public Library, Wednesday, 12 April 2023, in Marion, Iowa
Senator Tim Scott tours the Marion Public Library, Wednesday, 12 April 2023, in Marion, Iowa (AP)

Senator Tim Scott dodged questions around federal abortion ban as he voiced being “100 per cent pro-life”.

The comments came hours after the sole Black Republican senator announced his exploratory committee to run for the Republican nomination to challenge former president Donald Trump in 2024.

“I am certainly 100 per cent pro-life without a question, I’ve been very clear about that,” Mr Scott told CBS News as he tiptoed around the question about his stance on “whether federal government should be involved in regulating abortion”.

“Your colleague from South Carolina Lindsey Graham has a bill to limit abortions at 15 weeks, federal restriction. Do you support that measure?” asked the journalist.

“So I would say this. I am certainly 100 per cent pro-life without a question. I’ve been very, very clear about that. Very consistent about that. I do think we spend not enough time understanding how far the far left has gone on the issue of abortion,” he said.

“Senate Democrats have voted for late-term abortions well into the third trimester, some even suggesting that we should have abortion up until the day of birth. The fact that we are one of a handful of countries that allows for late term abortions is a challenging predicament for us to be in.”

Journalist Caitlin Hue-Burns pressed again, asking if he thinks that “the federal government should be involved with something like what Lindsey Graham is proposing?”

“There’s no question that we’re gonna have lots of folks talk about legislation from a federal perspective, but from what I’ve heard so far, and what I’ve seen in the Senate aren’t proposals but votes from the left trying to figure out how to continue their campaign towards late-term abortions, even allowing abortions based on the gender of the child or the race of the child or the disabilities of the child,” he said again, shying away from giving a straight response.

“But as president, if you were president, would you advocate for federal limits?” the journalist tried the third time. “So once again, I am 100 per cent pro-life and I do believe –” said Mr Scott, as the journalist asked whether he was saying “yes”.

“No, that’s not what I said,” the South Carolina senator responded.

A slew of Republican-led states have moved to ban abortion after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturnRoe v Wade in June last year. The landmark precedent established in the 1973 ruling from Roe affirmed the constitutional right to abortion care. According to the New York Times, most abortions are banned in 13 states

This is not the first time Mr Scott painted an exaggerated picture of a woman’s reproductive rights. Earlier in August, the GOP member claimed that if his party does not win back the Senate in November, the Democrats will “grant abortions up to 52 weeks,” a comment health care workers criticised for inaccuracy.

“A full-term pregnancy is approximately 40 weeks,” Dr Meera Shah, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, told HuffPost. “It is not logical or medically accurate to say that people can be pregnant at 52 weeks, let alone be seeking an abortion. It is comments like this one that underscore exactly why medical decisions should not be made by politicians.”

Mr Scott’s announcement marks the fourth candidate in the race for the Republican nomination. Along with him, Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, Republican businessman Vivek Ramaswamy announced their candidacy.

The South Carolina senator has spoken about racism in the United States, talking about how he was racially profiled by police. He also voted against the nomination of a judicial nominee who was accused of intimidating Black voters.

He and senator Cory Booker attempted to negotiate a police reform in the previous Congress after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd. But negotiations ultimately failed. He hinted at reigniting talks after Memphis police were caught on video assaulting Tyre Nichols, who later died.

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