Mike Huckabee's Opinion On Abortion Is An Area On Which The Ordained Minister Refuses To Budge

There are no plans for Mike Huckabee to step back on abortion in 2016, according to a speech the former Arkansas governor gave Tuesday announcing his bid to run for president. Although abortion was only given a brief mention in the speech Huckabee gave to his hometown of Hope, Arkansas, it was clear the presidential hopeful’s stance on abortion has not softened since his last run in 2008. Huckabee cited abortion, along with gay marriage, as examples of how America has “lost its way morally.”

“We have witnessed the slaughter of over 55 million babies in the name of choice, and are now threatening the foundation of religious liberty by criminalizing Christianity in demanding that we abandon Biblical principles of natural marriage,” said Huckabee on Tuesday.

Some Republicans have suggested dialing down the party’s pro-life dial a notch in an effort to appeal to more women and young voters. During remarks Huckabee made in March during the Conservative Political Action Conference, the former Fox News correspondent made it clear he is no fan of this approach. He stressed that social issues such as abortion are as important as the fiscal and national security issues that make up the Republican party’s platform.

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"I did not become pro-life because I got into politics. I got into politics because as a pro-life person, I believe if we get this issue wrong we will get all the other issues wrong,” Huckabee said during CPAC.

During Huckabee’s tenure as governor of Arkansas from 1996 through 2007, he signed bills into law that would require parental consent for abortions for minors, ban partial-birth abortions, and require hospitals to give women state-prescribed information on abortions.

Huckabee’s opposition to abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest, was a mainstay in the candidate’s platform during his first run to be the Republican nominee for president in 2008. Huckabee’s refusal to buck on the divisive issue drew him fans among evangelical Christians and social conservatives during the 2008 Republican presidential primaries.

During the Republican primary debates held in Durham, New Hampshire, in 2007, it was clear how Huckabee took a more hardline approach to abortion than his Republican peers, such as Mitt Romney. In one of his responses, Huckabee mentioned that as governor of Arkansas he led a campaign to add a “human life” amendment to the Arkansas state constitution that would specify that human life begins at conception. Huckabee added that he would like to see to human life amendment added to the U.S. Constitution.

To explain why Americans feel so passionately about abortion even though the issue may not affect them on a personal level, Huckabee drew a comparison to miners that were trapped that summer in Utah. "Even though we don’t know them, they represent us in the sense that they are human beings and we don’t know their fate. We need to show the same kind of respect for life whether a child is in the the womb, or whether in a coal mine, or a long-term care facility,” Huckabee said during the 2007 debates.

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Huckabee’s analogies for abortion have ranged from slavery to the Holocaust and have drawn criticism from civil rights groups. Huckabee compared the impact of Roe v. Wade to the Holocaust in a speech he gave to a crowd of Christian voters in 2007, referring to the millions of abortions that would have not been possible if not for the Supreme Court ruling. Huckabee’s belief that abortion is fundamentally wrong and should not be a political issue spurred him to compare abortion to slavery at a 2009 event in Tennessee hosted by an anti-abortion group.

Huckabee said that civilization could not survive if “one group of people have life and death control over another for no particular reason other than their own conveniences and, in that case, prejudices."

But even though Huckabee’s platform on abortion hasn’t changed since 2008, his hold on evangelical Christians and social conservatives might weaken, according to several news outlets. The New York Times points out that Huckabee is up against Ted Cruz and Rand Paul in 2016, both young guns who are well-adored by the religious right. The game has changed a bit since 2008, when evangelical Christians, unsure of Mormon Mitt Romney and long-time Washington insider John McCain, embraced Huckabee. But as The Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis argues, Huckabee’s reputation might have improved due to the presence he had in many red state living rooms as a Fox News commentator.

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