Pence wants 15-week abortion ban to become 'minimum nationwide standard'

Former Vice President Mike Pence delivers a speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference on June 23, 2023.
Former Vice President Mike Pence delivers a speech at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority conference on June 23, 2023. | The Christian Post/Nicole Alcindor

WASHINGTON — One of the most prominent candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president is calling on all Republican presidential candidates to support a federal 15-week abortion ban as the party continues to debate how to handle the issue of abortion going forward. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence was one of several presidential candidates who addressed Christian conservatives at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Conference at the Washington Hilton Friday, one day before the first anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade

During his remarks, Pence expressed gratitude for the court's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision, which determined that the U.S. Constitution does not contain a right to abortion and upheld Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. 

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Pence rejected the idea that "the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion only to the states and nothing can be done at the federal level."

"We must support efforts in statehouses across the country to protect the unborn and to support women facing crisis pregnancies," he added. "Every Republican candidate for president should support a ban on abortion before 15 weeks as a minimum." 

In prepared remarks delivered to the press before his speech, Pence said the 15-week ban should be "a reasonable and mainstream standard."

"[N]early every nation in Europe has a limit of 15 weeks or less," the remarks state. "Today, American abortion policy has more in common with China and North Korea than it does with the nations of Europe — and it is time for that to change.

The former Indiana governor also refuted arguments that continuing the fight for life will produce state legislation that is "too harsh" and that the Dobbs decision led to "election losses" in the 2022 midterm elections.

"The cause for life is the calling of our time and we must not rest and must not relent until we restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law in every state in this country," Pence said.  

Pence's remarks come as the influential pro-life grassroots group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which spent over $78 million in the 2022 midterm elections, promised not to support any presidential candidate who does not support a 15-week abortion ban. 

The organization made that vow after the campaign of former President Donald Trump made a statement to The Washington Post suggesting that states should decide the abortion issue following the Dobbs decision and that the federal government should not play a role in abortion policy going forward. 

"President Trump's assertion that the Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion solely to the states is a completely inaccurate reading of the Dobbs decision and is a morally indefensible position for a self-proclaimed pro-life presidential candidate to hold," SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement at the time. 

"Life is a matter of human rights, not states' rights. Saying that the issue should only be decided at the states is an endorsement of abortion up until the moment of birth, even brutal late-term abortions in states like California, Illinois, New York and New Jersey. The only way to save these children is through federal protections, such as a 15-week federal minimum standard when the unborn child can feel excruciating pain."

As of Friday, the Real Clear Politics average of Republican nomination polling shows Pence in third place with 5.7% support. Trump leads with 52.2%, trailed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 21.4% support. 

Last September, weeks before the 2022 midterm election, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina introduced a bill to institute a federal 15-week abortion ban. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. introduced companion legislation. The legislation was backed by leading pro-life advocacy organizations despite concerns from some conservatives that it could hurt Republicans' midterm election goals. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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