Prominent Iowa pastors joined Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Monday in slamming Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley for saying her stance on abortion was based on her “truth” instead of “God’s truth” at a forum last week.
Haley has taken a moderate stance on the abortion issue, arguing that Republicans should be “honest” about the slim chances of passing a nationwide ban on the procedure and instead focus on restricting late-term abortions and making contraception more widely available
“As much as I’m pro-life, I don’t judge anyone for being pro-choice, and I don’t want them to judge me for being pro-life,” the former ambassador to the United Nations said at the third Republican primary debate earlier this month. “Let’s find consensus … We don’t need to divide America over this issue anymore.”
Haley defended her remarks at Friday’s FAMiLY Leader Thanksgiving Forum in Iowa after CEO Bob Vander Plaats said her policies sounded pro-choice and not “unapologetically pro-life” as she has claimed to be.
“What you heard me say at the debate was very much my truth,” Haley responded.
That prompted DeSantis to issue an attack on her use of the phrase “my truth” as the two White House hopefuls battle for support in the Hawkeye State.
“When you’re talking about my truth — no, it’s not your truth or this person’s truth, there’s the truth. And we’ve got to be grounded in the truth and not be involved in saying everyone has their own,” DeSantis said, arguing Haley’s answers on abortion did “not go over well with the crowd” in Iowa.
A Haley rep responded to the attack by calling DeSantis a “desperate” and “failed” candidate.
“Ron DeSantis and his PAC have spent $100 million only to see his support plummet. He’s a failed and desperate candidate whose attacks on Nikki Haley have fallen flat,” the spokesperson said.
“Nikki’s support in New Hampshire and Iowa continues to grow, as we saw on Friday when a major Iowa pro-life leader announced her Haley endorsement,” the Haley spokesperson added, referring to former executive director of the Iowa GOP and former executive director of Iowa Right to Life Marlys Popma endorsing Haley at a town hall in Newton.
Some Iowa faith leaders who have endorsed DeSantis voiced opposition to the “subjective” nature of the offending phrase.
“Truth is not subjective. There is not my truth and your truth. There is only God’s truth. Period. Failing to protect the lives of innocent babies is nothing short of ignorance of God’s truth and we cannot afford to elect a president who bases their stances on the political winds or their own opinions,” said Liberty Baptist Church Pastor Darran Whiting.
“Governor DeSantis doesn’t base his opinions on what he believes is ‘his truth.’ He knows that when it comes to saving life’s most vulnerable, there’s only one truth to stand on: God’s truth,” added Jon Dunwell, a pastor and Iowa state representative.
“We need leaders who will reject this growing ideology in America which claims we each decide what’s true and what’s not. God’s Word is the only decider of what’s true and right,” said Pastor Brad Cranston, founder and president of Baptists for Biblical Values.
The rebukes of Haley’s abortion stance come as a recent Des Moines Register poll shows Haley and DeSantis tied at 16% among likely Iowa caucus goers. Another Des Moines Register poll shows 41% of likely Republican caucus goers saying abortion policies are “extremely important” in choosing who they would vote for, while 38% say it’s “important.”
Haley has previously said she would be in favor of a 15-week federal abortion ban but has reiterated during her campaign that such a restriction would be near impossible to get through Congress. As South Carolina governor, Haley signed a 20-week abortion ban into law.
DeSantis signed a six-week statewide abortion ban as governor of Florida, and has also said he would be in favor of a federal abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy.