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GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley outlines her position on abortion: "Let's humanize the issue"

Nikki Haley on abortion, China, Ukraine
GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley on abortion, China, transgender issues 06:51

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley outlined her position on abortion Monday in an interview with "CBS Mornings," saying that while she is "unapologetically pro-life," abortion is "a very personal issue."

Haley didn't say whether she would support any federal ban, but noted that any policy at that level would require consensus — majority support in the House, 60 Senate votes and the president's signature. 

"We haven't had 60 pro-life senators in over 100 years," she said, adding, "a Republican president can't ban abortions any more than a Democrat president can ban all these laws that are happening in the states."

"So, where can we agree? We can agree: Let's stop late-term abortions. Let's make sure that if doctors and nurses don't believe in abortion, they shouldn't have to perform them. Let's encourage more adoptions and make sure our children in foster care feel love. Let's make sure contraception is accessible. And let's say that if a woman has an abortion, she shouldn't go to jail or get the death penalty. Let's start there. And instead of demonizing the issue, let's humanize the issue."

She added that she is pro-life because her husband was adopted and because she had trouble having her children. 

"What I think we need to do is understand everybody has a story," she said. "I don't judge people for being pro-choice any more than I want them to judge me for being pro-life."

Haley also discussed transgender issues, saying biological boys playing in girls sports "is the women's issue of our time."

"Let the girls have their own locker room," she said. "Let the girls have their own sports. That was the whole point of Title IX. Don't go and push, you know, the challenges of a small minority onto the majority of our girls. That's not — they don't deserve that."

Haley, who is a former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, announced in February she is running for president. If she wins the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, she would make history as the first woman and first Asian-American at the top of the GOP ticket.

She spoke to "CBS Mornings" after appearing Sunday night in a CNN town hall, where she was questioned about issues ranging from abortion to foreign policy. 

In her CNN town hall and on "CBS Mornings," Haley criticized President Biden on Afghanistan, saying global actions including Russia's invasion of Ukraine and North Korea's testing of ballistic missiles would not have happened "had we not had that debacle in Afghanistan" — referring to the chaotic August 2021 withdrawal from the country the U.S. invaded in 2001.

She also said the way to prevent any military conflict with China over the next few years is to "be strong."

"That's why I think it's so important that Ukraine has to win this war on Russia, because if Ukraine wins this war, it sends a message to China on Taiwan. It sends a message to Iran wanting to build a bomb and threaten Israel. It sends a message, you know, to North Korea and all the other enemies that want to destroy it," she said.

Haley said if Ukraine loses, Russia will move into Poland and the Baltics "and we're looking at World War III," and China will move into Taiwan.

"So it's — doesn't mean we put money on the ground, doesn't mean we put troops on the ground, but what it means is we should continue to work with our allies so that they have the equipment and the ammunition they need to win," she said.

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