Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is defending Paraguay’s controversial decision to deny an abortion to a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after being raped by her stepfather.
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, the Republican presidential candidate said it was “horrible” that the girl, now 11, was raped. “But does it solve the problem by taking the life of an innocent child?” he asked.
Watch it below:
The story of the young girl — given the pseudonym “Mainumby” in legal documents — has captured a good deal of attention, as she recently gave birth after Paraguayan officials prohibited her from getting an abortion. As ThinkProgress’ Tara Culp-Ressler has pointed out, abortion is illegal in Paraguay, except “in very rare cases when it’s deemed necessary to save a woman’s life.”
Whether Mainumby’s pregnancy posed a threat to her life has been hotly debated, as medical experts say that girls under the age of 15 are more at risk for complications during childbirth. For that reason, Mainumby’s child had to be delivered via Cesarean section.
Paraguay’s policy is similar to what Huckabee and some other Republican presidential candidatessay they would support if elected. Huckabee, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have expressed a desire to ban abortion even in cases when women have been raped, or have been victims of incest.
The position has been unpopular in the past. Only 22 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in cases of rape and incest, according to one Gallup poll.
CNN host Dana Bash appeared to question Huckabee’s position as well, pressing him on whether it would be easy “looking in the eyes of a 10-year-old girl and saying, ‘you had a horrible thing happen to you, and you’re going to have carry it out for the next nine months.”
“No, it isn’t easy,” Huckabee responded. “I wouldn’t pretend it’s anything other than a terrible tragedy. But let’s not compound the tragedy by taking yet another life.”