Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., argued in Thursday night's Fox News Republican presidential debate that an unborn child's right to life is inherent under the United States Constitution and the passage of a constitutional amendment is not required to ban abortions.
Huckabee's first response at the the primetime debate, which featured the top-10 polling GOP candidates, was prefaced by moderator Chris Wallace asking him how he would persuade Independents and Democrats to vote for him when he advocates strongly for constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and abortion.
"Chris, I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment. That's a long and difficult process. I've actually taken the position that's bolder than that," the 59-year-old Southern Baptist minister responded. "A lot of people are talking about defunding Planned Parenthood, as if that's a huge game changer. 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."
Huckabee contended that science has proven that an unborn baby has personhood, even when in the mother's womb, and should have the same constitutional protections that any other individual is granted.
"The reason we know that it is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on," Huckabee continued. "And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law."
"It's time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children, instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick," Huckabee added.
Rubio echoed Huckabee's remarks later in the debate when he was asked to clarify his stance on whether or not cases of rape and incest should be exempted from an abortion ban. Rubio assured that he is pro-life in all instances and explained that a law should be passed that life is to be protected at all stages of development.
"In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States," the 44-year-old Rubio said. "And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not."
Rubio added that future generations of Americans will be appalled by today's abortion practices in America, which includes hundreds of thousands of babies being aborted every year.
"And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live," Rubio warned.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was asked to clarify his stance on Planned Parenthood after it was reported that he sat on the board of the Bloomberg Families Foundation, which donated $50 million dollars to Planned Parenthood.
Bush explained that he did not know the money was given to Planned Parenthood and only sat on the board because of Mike Bloomberg's stance on education reform.
Bush added that his "record as a pro-life governor is not in dispute," and stated that under his watch, the state of Florida defunded Planned Parenthood, appropriated money for crisis pregnancy centers, expanded adoptions, created parental notification laws, ended partial-birth abortions and became the first state to offer "Choose Life" license plates.
"I am completely pro-life and I believe that we should have a culture of life," Bush replied. "It is informed by my faith from beginning to end and I did this not just as it related to unborn babies, I did it at the end-of-life issues as well."
As the recent Center for Medical Progress undercover videos have raised questions as to whether Planned Parenthood is breaking laws by selling babies' body parts for profit, there has been a large outcry calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stated that he, like Bush, defunded Planned Parenthood in his state way before the videos were released.
"I'm pro-life, I've always been pro-life, and I've got a position that I think is consistent with many Americans out there in that I believe that is an unborn child that's in need of protection," Walker said. "Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out."
In his closing remarks, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, assured that on the first day of his presidency, he would launch a Justice Department investigation into the criminal activity of Planned Parenthood.
Billionaire Donald Trump, who previously said in 1999 that he was "pro-choice," was also asked to clarify his views on abortion and said that his stance on the issue has evolved and he is now pro-life.
"I have evolved in many issues over the years and you know who else has? Ronald Reagan has evolved on many issues and I am pro-life," Trump said. "What happened is friends of mine, years ago, were going to have a child and it was going to be aborted and it wasn't aborted. That child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. I saw that and I saw other instances, and I am very, very proud to say that I am pro-life."