DEARBORN, Mich. (BP)–The issue of abortion surfaced again at the Republican debate Oct. 9, when a handful of lower-tier candidates made it clear they hope the party nominates someone who is pro-life.
Asked if he would pledge to support whoever wins the nomination, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas said he would, then added to applause, “And I believe that the person that’s going to lead the party will be somebody that is pro-growth and pro-life. I think these are two pivotal, key foundation issues that this country needs to stand for.”
And if the nominee isn’t “pro-growth and pro-life”?
“It’s going to be. And I’m going to support the nominee of the party,” Brownback said.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the only candidate who supports abortion rights. The two-hour debate included nine candidates, including for the first time Fred Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee.
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California said the pro-life position is fundamental to the Republican Party.
“Yes, I would support the nominee of the party, but also work with whoever that nominee is to make sure that they understand that the Republican Party was built on a respect for human beings,” he said, referring to the founding of the party in the mid-1800s by anti-slavery activists. “And I think if we lose that respect and that protection for unborn human beings, then the party that Abraham Lincoln founded will be no more.”
But Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado made no such pledge of support.
“I’ve said, I don’t know how many times, that I am absolutely … sick and tired of being forced to go to the polls and say I’m going to make this choice between the lesser of two evils. I really don’t intend to do that again. I am hoping, of course, that whoever we nominate will be the principled flag carrier for the Republican Party. But if that is not the case, no, then I will not support them.”
The debate, carried live on the financial news channel CNBC, focused mainly on economic issues.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.