Rejecting any “truce” on social issues, potential GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told a pro-life fundraiser on Monday that the issue of abortion “transcends all of the political issues” and said that his potential presidential bid would seek to elevate the issue:
“For me this is an issue that — as I’ve said before — it transcends all of the political issues,” he said. “I’ve often said I would gladly lose an election before I would ever yield on the issue of the sanctity of human life.”
At the event, held at the Knoxville Convention Center, the former Arkansas governor confirmed he is “seriously looking at” running for president again in 2012 and may do if only to “elevate the issue of life.” Palm Christian Ministry arranged the dinner, which gave Huckabee an opportunity to meet with top sponsors of the event beforehand, according to the News Sentinel newspaper.
Watch it (via Kyle):
Of course, this is the kind of lip service that really falls apart on closer scrutiny. After all, if Huckabee really cared about reducing the country’s abortion rates, he would be loudly condemning the House Republicans’ proposal to cut funding to contraception and counseling. These services lower the number of unwanted pregnancies and decrease health care spending (for instance, it’s estimated that for every one dollar spent it saves $4 in prenatal, delivery, and postpartum services alone).
And then there is Huckabee’s support for rescinding the Affordable Care Act, which — despite the GOP claims of phantom abortion funding — would also have the effect of increasing the abortion rates. A 2010 study analyzing the impact of Massachusetts’ health reform on abortion rates fund that access to universal health coverage lead to a decrease in abortions by 1.5 percent during the first two years of the new health care program (2007-2009), despite the state’s much more liberal abortion coverage policies.
The bottom line is that women contemplating an abortion are far less likely to seek one if they can afford health insurance for themselves, and feel confident they can provide quality medical care to their newborn children. Given Huckabee’s opposition to health reform and his lack of a coherent alternative to increasing access, however, his pronouncements about the importance of life are hard to take seriously.