Defunding Planned Parenthood not enough, Huckabee says in Cedar Rapids

Republican presidential hopeful speaks at Iowa Right to Life event

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By Alex Boisjolie, The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — Taking a strong stand against abortion, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told the audience Sunday at an Iowa Right to Life event that he isn’t satisfied with just ending government funding for Planned Parenthood.

For more than 40 minutes in front of about 40 people gathered at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, the Republican presidential candidate said he’d put a stop to abortion — contrasting himself with other GOP candidates calling to defund the women’s health provider.

“If all a candidate can promise is stop funding to Planned Parenthood, that isn’t enough for me. That’s low-hanging fruit,” Huckabee said. “Let’s do something bolder than that. Let’s stop abortion completely.”

Iowa Right to Life is the largest organization in the state opposing abortion rights. Sunday’s event was the second presidential forum it has held this year, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina spoke to the group last week in Des Moines.

“I was very pleased with the turnout, and the messages Gov. Huckabee said,” Executive Director of Iowa Right to Life Jenifer Bowen said. “It was a great opportunity for the people in the Cedar Rapids area to hear more about Gov. Huckabee’s pro-life issues. I am very grateful he made the time to speak to our organization.”

Huckabee said he is passionate about the issue.

“The question of protecting life transcends any political views I have,” he said. “I have been involved in the pro-life movement far before I got into politics.”

A Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Huckabee in eighth place in Iowa among GOP candidates, at 2.4 percent support. The former governor and Fox News talk show host won the 2008 Iowa Republican caucus with 34.4 percent over Mitt Romney’s 25 percent.

Giving him hope this time, he said, are the people who can still be persuaded in the week before the caucuses.

“We have been going full throttle, calling supporters and making sure they will come and try to close the sale with as many people they can,” Huckabee said. “We all know it’s a last- minute decision for a lot of people.”

The day after Huckabee announced his campaign for presidency in May, he left for Iowa and has spent 65 days in the state, making stops in all 99 counties.

“I have watched and listened to Gov. Huckabee for years. He is the only candidate that is walking the nearest on the path with my Lord,” Craig Kroupa of Cedar Rapids said. “The polls aren’t looking good, but I believe I have a spiritual obligation to support him.”

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