If you were disappointed that the candidates didn’t get enough time to talk about the Planned Parenthood organ selling scandal at Thursday’s debate, don’t worry. RedState held an Atlanta conference featuring several of the 2016 candidates, and Planned Parenthood was a major theme. Here’s what some of the candidates had to say about the abortion giant over the weekend.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio said he’d been asked 3 times whether he’d be willing to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood, but flipped it back on the Democrats in a unique twist. Tommy Valentine did a good summary of his response here, but part of it bears repeating:
If this was the NRA, would the press be saying the Democrats are willing to shut down the government to defund the NRA? No, they would be saying Republicans are trying to defund, shut down the government. This is the Democrats threatening to shut down the government unless we use taxpayer money for a specific organization. That’s outrageous.
Chris Christie said that after watching the videos he was “disgusted…as a father of four, but also as a public servant.” Christie also took the opportunity to hit Hillary Clinton for her new campaign video:
“I was just as disgusted by the video put out by Hillary Clinton,” Christie said. “She’s playing the old game everybody plays, and we better be ready for it. She said Republicans are against women’s health care.”
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called the videos “barbaric” and reemphasized his actions to defund Planned Parenthood in his state since becoming governor. He also gets extra points for saying what he would do as President to stop the organization’s ability to break the law.
“Not only am I going to send the Department of Justice and the IRS, I will send OSHA, EPA and every federal agency I can think of” to investigate Planned Parenthood, Jindal said. “This is barbaric. It sickens me to watch those videos.”
Fresh from her early debate victory on Thursday, Carly Fiorina said Republicans should be willing to fight Democrats on Planned Parenthood funding, even if Democrats choose a shutdown:
Referencing the undercover videos which exposed high level Planned Parenthood executives discussing prices for aborted fetal organs, the Hewlett Packard CEO said, “I think these videos are a moment in time to have a very different conversation. I don’t think this is about whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life.”
“I know that the Democrats … will defend Planned Parenthood and late-term abortion and the preposterous position that it’s not a life until it leaves the hospital,” she said, echoing other GOP candidates. “I know Democrats are going to defend this up until the very last minute, but the majority of Americans will not. The majority of Americans, whether they’re pro-life or pro-choice, look at this video and say ‘this is not who we as Americans are.'”
“You cannot be picking over the body parts while a Planned Parenthood employee says ‘look it’s a baby’ and not be horrified,” she said.
“If we are not prepared to stand up and fight over this, what are we prepared to stand up and fight over?” she asked.
Texas Governor Rick Perry went for an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” where he called the videos “outside the boundaries of humanity”:
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think anyone who’s seen the videos of the Planned Parenthood is offended, you know, regardless of where they may be on the issue of — of choice or protecting life. And that’s what he needs to be focused on, is these operations that are clearly outside the — the bounds of not just humanity, but outside the bounds of our criminal laws.
So one of the reasons we shut down Planned Parenthood in Texas — and I might add, replaced those dollars with women’s health care dollars that really went to the core and — and then protected what the people of the state of Texas wanted to do, which is not be a place that expanded abortion.
We have parental consent notification and we also had laws that — sonogram bills and others to protect the life and — and also to protect the life of those mothers.
So, you know, that — that’s the real issue for us, is to give real options on women’s health care and to restrict these — these groups that are using out of the norm procedures to…
STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t…
PERRY: — do these abortions.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee also went on ABC, where he invoked the idea that Presidents could utilize the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to protect the unborn:
STEPHANOPOULOS: And one of the issues that all the candidates agreed on was defunding Planned Parenthood. But you went even further on Thursday night and I want to show that right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: I think it’s time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to “The Constitution,” now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother’s womb is a person at the moment of conception.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The question is, what does that mean, invoking the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendment?
And there was a recent headline when you spoke back in Kansas, the “Topeka Capital Journal,” where the headline said, “Mike Huckabee, Republican Presidential Candidate, Won’t Rule Out Employing U.S. Troops, FBI to Stop Abortion.”
Is that the fallout from invoking the Fifth and the Fourteenth Amendments?
HUCKABEE: Well, that whole idea about the troops and the FBI didn’t come from me. That — those weren’t my words. That was something that the “Rolling Stone” reporter said. And we know how reliable “Rolling Stone” is as a journalistic tool.
So what I’m saying is, is that the real issue here is not whether we’re going to give money to Planned Parenthood. Yes, that’s important. But the bigger issue is, is that unborn child a human being?
Because if it is, then the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment apply because we’re dealing with…
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what does that mean, though…
HUCKABEE: — personhood.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — in practice?
HUCKABEE: Well, it means that you guarantee due process under the Fifth Amendment before you deprive someone of their life and liberty. It means, under the Fourteenth Amendment, there’s equal protection under the law.
Exactly how that plays out is one of the ways we — we discover what does it take for Americans to finally wake up to the fact that we are violating the constitutional rights of human beings?
And in the past, presidents have employed many different ways to make sure that…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, but would…
HUCKABEE: — people…
STEPHANOPOULOS: — would that mean calling in law enforcement…
HUCKABEE: — basic human rights are…
STEPHANOPOULOS: — in…
HUCKABEE: — are protected.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Would it mean calling in law enforcement to prevent abortion?
HUCKABEE: I think the bigger question is, let’s — let’s establish the personhood of the individual. Let’s make sure that America comes to grips with that.
George, we can’t keep defending the — the loss of 60 million human lives over the past 42 years. We — we’re not acting like a civilized people in — in the way in which abortion, in its unrestricted fashion, has continued.
And even the politicians who pretend that they’re not really for it, they’re personally against it. They’ll say things like let’s keep it safe, legal and rare. It’s not safe. I don’t think it’s legal. I think it violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of an unborn person. And it certainly isn’t rare. It happens 4,000 times a day. That’s hardly rare.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Huckabee, thanks for joining us again this morning. I hope you’ll come back soon.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.