In a party that’s moved more aggressively in recent years in pushing to restrict abortions, it was no surprise that the field of potential 2024 Republican presidential hopefuls celebrated the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe V. Wade as a historic victory for conservatives.
While the praise was nearly universal, where the possible contenders differed was over the next steps the GOP should take to push to ban abortions in states from coast to coast.
“The court handed down a victory for the Constitution, a victory for the rule of law and above all a victory for life,” former President Donald Trump said Saturday night at a rally in Illinois.
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Trump took credit for the ruling a couple of hours after the news broke on Friday.
“Today’s decision, which is the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation, along with other decisions that have been announced recently, were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court,” the former president touted.
But in an interview with Fox News Digital, Trump was much more reserved. When asked if he had a message for any of his supporters who may support abortion rights, he suggested that “in the end, this is something that will work out for everybody.”,
And according to The New York Times, Trump was privately concerned in the lead up to Friday’s monumental ruling that it would politically hurt the GOP with suburban women in November’s midterm elections.
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Former Vice President Mike Pence, who’s long been a champion for social conservatives, appeared much more aggressive when it came to taking the next steps.
“Now that Roe v. Wade has been consigned to the ash heap of history, a new arena in the cause of life has emerged, and it is incumbent on all who cherish the sanctity of life to resolve that we will take the defense of the unborn and the support for women in crisis pregnancy centers to every state in America,” the former vice president argued.
And Pence urged that “having been given this second chance for Life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land.”
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was another top member of Trump’s administration, took to Twitter to “applaud the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade” and to stress that “this is not the end of the fight to save the lives of the unborn. We owe it to them to joyously defend this most fundamental right — the right to life.”
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations during Trump’s first two years in the White House, called the high court decision a “historic win for the pro-life movement. It’s an even bigger win for the American people.”
“My hope is that there is a renewed commitment from elected lawmakers to support and protect mothers and their pre-born babies,” Haley added.
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Another top Republican and possible White House hopeful – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – also called for expanding “pro-life protections” but kept his scope firmly on the Sunshine State.
Pointing to his state’s new 15-week abortion restrictions, which the governor signed into law this spring, DeSantis pledged that “Florida will continue to defend its recently-enacted pro-life reforms against state court challenges, will work to expand pro-life protections, and will stand for life by promoting adoption, foster care and child welfare,” DeSantis said in a statement.
The statements and comments from Trump, Pence, Pompeo, Haley, DeSantis, and others who may have national ambitions in 2024 are all a nod to social conservatives – who’ve long played a crucial role in the GOP and in picking the party’s presidential nominees.
Ralph Reed, a well-known and veteran political consultant who in the 1990s steered the Christian Coalition and is the founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, noted that social conservative and evangelical voters currently make up roughly half of the Republican primary vote and that they have outsized influence in Iowa and South Carolina, two of the first three states to hold contests in the GOP presidential nominating calendar.
“You’re not going to win this nomination in 2024 without getting your fair share of these voters,” Reed told Fox News earlier this month. “You don’t have to win a majority, but you probably have to win a plurality. I don’t think there’s any way to win the nomination without getting your fair share. These are very important voters.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report