Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Sunday that he supports Paraguay’s decision to deny abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim. The girl, who was allegedly raped by her stepfather, gave birth to a healthy baby girl at a hospital in Asunción last week.
“A 10-year-old girl being raped is horrible. But does it solve a problem by taking the life of an innocent child? That's really the issue,” Huckabee, who has, in the past, described himself as “passionately and actively pro-life,” said, during his appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“There are two victims. One is the child; the other is that birth mother who often will go through extraordinary guilt years later when she begins to think through what happened,” Huckabee added. “I just come down on the side that life is precious; every life has worth and value. I don't think we discount the intrinsic worth of any human being.”
The case came to light in April, when the girl -- now 11 -- was already 22 weeks pregnant. Paraguay -- an overwhelmingly and deeply Catholic nation -- only permits abortions in cases where the mother’s life is deemed to be in danger. However, in this particular case, health officials denied the request, reportedly claiming that the girl was healthy, despite appeals by several international human rights groups -- including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“Despite requests made by the girl’s mother and medical experts to terminate this pregnancy which puts the girl’s life at risk, [Paraguay] has failed to take measures to protect the health as well as the physical and mental integrity and even the life of the 10-year old girl,” a group of U.N. human rights experts said, in a statement released in May.
In the U.S., meanwhile, abortion has remained a divisive issue. According to two separate polls conducted in 2014, about half of all adults surveyed in the country said they supported legalization of abortion in most or all cases, while the other half said it did not. As a result, the current GOP hopefuls for the 2016 presidential elections have been walking a fine line when it comes to the issue.
Along with Huckabee, who previously said that he is open to the idea of using federal troops and the FBI to stop women from having abortions, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have also opposed abortion without exceptions. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, have supported a bill that would prohibit federal funding for insurance plans that cover abortion, with exceptions for rape and incest.
“There are no easy answers here,” Huckabee reportedly said, during the CNN interview Sunday. “If life matters … then every life matters.”