Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said recently that he would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, making abortions illegal. He added that he would be in favor of greatly limiting any exemptions for women to be able to have an abortion.
“Does life begin at conception?” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Carson during an interview for “Meet the Press” that aired Oct. 25.
“I believe it does,” Carson answered.
Todd went on to ask Carson, in the case of abortion, whether the mother or the child should enjoy more protection under the law.
“Who has greater rights?” Todd asked.
“In the ideal situation, the mother should not believe that the baby is her enemy and should not be looking to terminate the baby,” Carson answered in part.
“What if somebody has an unwanted pregnancy, should they have the right to terminate it?” Todd asked.
“No,” the former neurosurgeon answered.
“Think about this," he added. "During slavery — and I know that is one of those words that you are not supposed to say, but I am saying it — during slavery a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. And, you know, what if the abolitionists had said, you know, ‘I don’t believe in slavery. I think it’s wrong. But you guys do whatever you want to do.’ Where would we be?”
“Do you want to see Roe v. Wade overturned?” Todd asked.
“Ultimately I would love to see it overturned,” Carson said.
When asked if he would like to see all abortions made illegal or if he would allow for some exemptions, 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.”
Todd asked if he would be in favor of allowing exemptions if the life or health of the mother were threatened.
“Again, that’s an extraordinarily rare situation," Carson said. "But if in that very rare situation it occurred, I believe there's room to discuss that.”
But he said he was not in favor of allowing abortions if a child were conceived as the result of rape or incest.
“I would not be in favor of killing a baby because the baby came about in that way,” Carson told Todd, when asked. “All you have to do is go and look up the many stories of people who have led very useful lives who were the result of rape or incest.”
Carson’s comments closely follow the news that he may have surpassed GOP candidate Donald Trump in Iowa.
A recent poll from The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics has Carson at 28 percent support among likely caucus goers in the Hawkeye state — the first state to hold a primary or caucus in the country.
Trump trails with 19 percent support, The Register reports.
“Donald Trump’s got a real problem,” Republican strategist Alex Castellanos told the paper. “Ben Carson is now the favorite to win Iowa.”
And the fact that Carson's position on abortion and other topics ties closely to religion and faith is likely helping. Of those polled, 89 percent said Carson’s faith in God is a strong positive for the candidate.
“These numbers tell me that Carson’s relationship with Iowa caucus goers is more personal and intimate than the relationship other candidates have with voters because it is on a values level, not a political level,” Castellanos added. “He’s connecting with voters because of who they are inside, not because of what they want on the outside — and that’s strong.”