Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson said he would “love” to see abortion made illegal nationwide with almost no exceptions.
Speaking on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Carson said, "I'm a reasonable person, and if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, I'll listen."
Carson said he is against abortion for terminating unwanted pregnancies and when a woman becomes pregnant due to rape or incest. He said that he might be willing to allow abortions to preserve the life and health of the mother but that “ultimately, I would love to see” Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling, “overturned.”
Carson rose to national prominence after criticizing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law at the 2013 National Prayer breakfast. He has developed a loyal following among the GOP’s most conservative voters. In particular, he appears to be making inroads among evangelicals and social conservatives in Iowa, the state that holds the crucial first-in-the-nation caucuses.
A Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll on Friday showed Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, surging in the polls, with a 9-point lead in Iowa. A Quinnipiac University poll the day before, gave him an 8-point advantage over Donald Trump in the state, who remains the front-runner in national polling.
He has campaigned as stridently anti-abortion and called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, an organization that came under fire last month for providing tissue from aborted fetuses for research, despite having conducted research that used such tissue and, as Politico reported, referring patients to doctors who performed abortions.
Carson’s remarks on abortion do not set him apart from most of the Republican field. Nor is this the first time his remarks have drawn attention. Last month he said on the same program that Muslims are unfit to be president of the United States, arguing their faith is inconsistent with American principles.
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that,” said Carson, who added that electing Muslims to Congress was a “different story.”
Al Jazeera with wire services