On the topic of abortion, Nikki Haley signaled Tuesday she will take a different approach in her presidential campaign than much of her own Republican Party.

In a prepared speech that Haley delivered in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday, she called for a “consensus on abortion.” In explaining her opposition to abortion rights, Haley — the lone female to declare for candidacy in the Republican Party so far — discussed her struggle to conceive, her husband’s adoption, and her voting record on the issue.

“Abortion is a deeply personal topic for both women and men. I understand why,” Haley said. “Someone’s body and someone else’s life are not things to be taken lightly, and they should not be politicized. The issue should be addressed with sensitivity and respect, not judgment and hate.”

Haley, an anti-abortion rights conservative, said it is unlikely the Republican Party will achieve a 60-seat majority in the Senate anytime soon. She also doubts that the anti-abortion laws passed in Republican states could ever be adopted federally.

While she toed a line closer to the middle in her messaging on the issue, Haley did not spare Democratic lawmakers from criticism. She said members of the “left” demonize the anti-abortion-rights position held by many conservatives, and she said President Joe Biden has done nothing to discourage the division and hatred engendered by the topic of abortion on the left.

Haley’s shift toward the center on the topic of abortion comes after Republicans were left underwhelmed and somewhat surprised by the results of the 2022 midterm elections. At the time, Republicans were expecting to seize on Biden and the Democrats over the issue of inflation and take control of the House and Senate. Instead, Democrats maintained control of the Senate and lost fewer seats in the House than expected.

And a big reason for that, political observers say, is that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade last summer loomed large at the polls, challenging inflation as the biggest issue on the minds of voters, according to CNN.

Against that backdrop, Republicans are hoping to frame the issue beneficially for 2024 even as it remains a divisive subject for voters on both ends of the political spectrum.


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