Huckabee, Jon Stewart Face Off on Abortion

Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and late night host Jon Stewart faced off for the second time over another heated topic – abortion, or the pro-life issue, as Huckabee preferred to call it.

The debate Thursday night on "The Daily Show" didn't sway opinions but both parties demonstrated civility at a time when dialogue on abortion has become inflammatory, as Stewart noted.

"I hope that people begin to see that both sides can come at it with good faith and good intentions and are not frenzied and maniacal on one side and callous and indifferent on the other," said Stewart, who identifies more with the pro-choice camp but admitted he's in "the squishy middle" of the debate.

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Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister who debated gay marriage with Stewart in his last appearance on the political satire show, stood firm on his stance that life begins at conception and that every human life has intrinsic worth and value.

"There's an equality to human life. No one is worth more than another; no one is worth less than another," he said.

The real issue, he noted, is whether a person has a right to own another person.

"It does come down to the fundamental question: Do I have a right to say that I own another life to the point that I may dispose of it and consider it to be expendable," Huckabee said.

For Stewart and many pro-choice advocates, the question comes down to "Does the government have a right to tell a woman that she cannot make a decision about her reproductive health?"

In response, Huckabee argued that once there is life forming in a woman's womb, both of those lives must be considered.

Throughout the debate, Stewart alluded to the recent appeal made by President Barack Obama to find "common ground" on an issue where the views of both pro-life and pro-choice camps are irreconcilable.

Rather than rehashing old arguments in which both sides will not relent, Stewart suggested working together in areas such as education.

Before it becomes a crisis, where a woman comes to the point of considering abortion, Stewart suggested that pro-lifers "abandon" some core conservative principles such as abstinence only education and no contraception while also teaching the consequences of sexual behavior.

Huckabee responded, "I would be certainly favorable to anything that helps us preserve every human life and to treat it with dignity and worth."

The informal debate was even-tempered and both parties left the discussion agreeing that it is one of the most difficult issues but one that doesn't call for hostile arguments or violence.

"We don't need to shout at each other and we sure don't need to shoot each other," Huckabee said, referring to the recent shooting of late-term abortion provider George Tiller.

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