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Nikki Haley: Trump's Accusers 'Should Be Heard'; Roy Moore Has History of Controversy. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired December 11, 2017 - 07:00   ET



SEN. SUSAN COLLIS (R), MAINE: I'm disappointed that the RNC has resumed its support.

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: They are attacking me in that area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are consequential moments in our American history, and this is one of them.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates expected back in court this morning.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a rigged system. This is a sick system from the inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russians gave help, and the president made full use of that help. And that is pretty damning.

KEATON JONES, STUDENT: Why do they bully? What's the point of it? It's not OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His words have touched a lot of people. Hopefully, this video and all the tweets beg awareness to stop bullying.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We'll get to that viral video later on in the program. It's such -- it's really taken off.

CUOMO: A call to arms.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it is.

CUOMO: A call to arms in the name of Keaton, one of the coolest people to enter the dialogue in some time.

CAMEROTA: OK, so we'll talk about that. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY.

The national spotlight on Alabama's Senate race, where voters head to the polls tomorrow morning. President Trump making a big push for the GOP's embattled candidate Roy Moore. The president recording a phone call and rallying over the weekend for the man accused of child molestation. But Alabama's most prominent Republican senator, Richard Shelby, going against his part and the president, saying he cannot vote for Moore, choosing instead to write in a candidate.

CUOMO: All right. Now, one of the top-ranking women in President Trump's administration says the women accusing President Trump of sexual misconduct should be heard. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley diverging from the White House position that more than a dozen women have all lied about their claims against the president.

Now, Haley didn't say that they're telling the truth. She didn't say that she believes them, but she spoke about it in a way that is certainly different in tone than the White House. This comes as several Democratic senators are calling to resign.

We have it all covered. Let's begin with CNN's Kaylee Hartung, liv in Montgomery, Alabama, with our top story. What's the state of the race?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, one day before the polls open in Alabama and President Trump is ramping up his efforts to try to get Moore elected in this special election. This state hasn't sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in more than 20 years.

But with the explosive allegations against Roy Moore, the Democratic Party hopes they have an opportunity to pick up a seat here.


TRUMP (via phone): Hi. This is President Donald Trump, and I need Alabama to go vote for Roy Moore.

HARTUNG (voice-over): President Trump making a final push to bolster Alabama's Republican nominee and accused child molester Roy Moore, recording a robocall for the controversial Senate candidate after touting his support for Moore at a rally in Florida.

TRUMP (on camera): This country, the future of this country cannot afford to lose a seat in the very, very close United States Senate. We can't afford it, folks.

HARTUNG: For the second time in one week, the president's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, also campaigning for Moore, who's become the face of Bannon's antiestablishment movement.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHIT HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: If they can destroy Roy Moore, they can destroy you.

HARTUNG: Moore's candidacy continuing to divide the GOP, with the state's most prominent Republican, Senator Richard Shelby, denouncing his party's nominee on CNN.

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: So many cuts. So many drip, drip, drip. When it got to the 14-year-old story -- story, that was enough for me. I said, "I can't vote for Roy Moore." The state of Alabama deserves better.

HARTUNG: Moore's opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, immediately turning Senator Shelby's remarks into an online ad and a robocall that will play statewide in the final hours of this election.

Moore himself seeming to avoid the spotlight. The former judge has not held a public campaign event since early last week, remaining largely out of sight this weekend other than a taped interview with a local TV program.

MOORE: I do not know them. I've had no encounter with them. I've never molested anyone.

HARTUNG: Jones, on the other hand, barnstorming the state alongside a number of prominent Democrats who are pouring money and resources into the race.

JONES: I want to make sure that when my granddaughters grow up, they don't have to endure the kind of thing that those girls In Etowah County did and then sit silent for 30, 40 years. I want to make sure that we send a message of who we are and why we are.

HARTUNG: Jones enlisting the help of former Massachusetts governor Duval Patrick and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker in an attempt to shore up the black vote, a critical demographic for Jones.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, saying Sunday that any woman who speaks up about inappropriate sexual behavior should be heard, including President Trump's accusers.

HALEY: They should be heard, and they should be dealt with. And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.


[07:05:07] HARTUNG: Those remarks from one of the highest-ranking women in the Trump administration. That's a notable break from the president's longstanding assertion that the allegations are false and part of a smear campaign.

Today the president will have lunch with the vice president ahead of Mike Pence's four-day trip to the Middle East. And later today, we will see him on camera as he signs a space policy directive -- Chris, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Kaylee, thank you very much for all of that background.

Let's bring in now CNN political analysts David Drucker and Margaret Talev. Great to see both of you.

So Margaret, listen, we've been warned many times by people on the ground in Alabama that Alabamians don't want people in Washington telling them how to feel, how to vote. Of course not. You know, who does?

So given that, Senator Richard Shelby coming out and saying he can not in good conscience vote for Roy Moore. Does that move the needle, change anything?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, simply a bid deal. And you can see the way the Jones campaign is trying to sort of take advantage of this message that they think it can help them, but it's very late in the process. And to the extent that the polling's reliable, and it's not clear that it is, move the needle, it looks like this is Moore's race to lose still right now.

So these things are important, both Shelby and Nikki Haley. But depending on how accurate the polling is, they may be more important in terms of what happens to Moore once he would be elected than it is to the administration.

CAMEROTA: But it looks like -- the latest "Washington Post" poll looks like it's exactly neck and neck, I mean, within the margin of error. So are you seeing -- and Doug Jones has it by a hair. But again, the margin of error is three points. What are you seeing, Margaret, that makes you think that Roy Moore is going to walk away with this?

TALEV: Well, this comes down to two things. It comes down to whether or not the people who say that they are voting for Moore actually decide to turn out at the polls on election day. And it comes out to whether the efforts to turn out the black vote and the younger vote in Alabama actually can come through for the Jones campaign.

So it's -- it is very close right now. But it's just very hard to measure how effective some of these last-minute expressions from Republicans are.

CUOMO: Well, look, you've got two factors, David, right? You've got what the pollsters will talk to you about: hidden appetite and turnout. This is a special election. There is no reason to leave your house except this race. So that's something that factors in. People have to be motivated. And then you have the hidden appetite, which is are people going to be honest with you and say, 'Yes, I'm for Roy Moore"? If there's going to be a discount effect, it would be on that side, not people who say they're going to vote for Doug Jones but don't mean it, right?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. That will certainly be a part of it. And I think one of the -- look, one of the things that Roy Moore has going for him simply is there are more votes available to him. I mean, Alabama is an overwhelmingly Republican state. It is a Trump stronghold in particular.

And so Doug -- Doug Jones really has to fight an uphill battle here. Not only does he need to maximize turnout among demographics that are included to vote for Democrats, he needs a -- either a strong Republican under vote or he needs a crossover effect among Republicans, particularly in the Birmingham area. And it's just a tougher deal. And what we have seen in this race, which is so similar to what we saw

in the presidential election last year. After the "Access Hollywood" tape dropped, we saw President Trump's polling plunge. And then over time as voters digested what was going on and made choices between him and the competition, he ended up coming back and winning.

And that's sort of what we have seen with the polling, as it relates to Moore. His approval, his support plunges. And as voters in Alabama have sort of taken stock of everything and thought about their choices, he has come back.

So it's close. And I think that anything is possible. But as I discovered when I spent some time in Alabama, a lot of this is going to depend on whether or not regular Republican voters, enough of those just can't stomach Moore. And then he has to get lucky enough to maximize in a special election, as you point out, Chris, turnout among demographics that aren't always the biggest to turn out in the first place.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Hey, Margaret, it does feel like the shock of the accusation has worn off over this month. We've talked to two radio show hosts here in Alabama. They have a call-in show. We've checked in with them throughout the month. First, it was so shocking these accusations that a 14-year-old is being banned from a mall. Who gets banned from a mall?

And now it feels like people are -- I mean, they basically suggested people are reverting to the meme of -- you know, some of that has worn off.

And one of the things that they said, Margaret, which is so interesting, is you know, "We'll never be able to know what really happened in that car, you know, where Beverly Nelson says she was assaulted. We'll never know what really happened, you know, to the 14-year-old."

Of course, every day in courtrooms around the country, you don't know -- you didn't witness the crime. But you make your own reasonable doubt decision, and you decide based on the available facts. But somehow, you know, in Alabama there's a feeling of, "Well, we don't really know, so I guess we'll have to give it to him."

[07:10:05] TALEV: The allegations, of course, are every bit as shocking as they were on day one. But as each day goes by, it becomes, quote, "older news." Right? That's for sure.

Look, it's been interesting in watching the coverage of this race, this is not a criminal trial in the court of law. This is a political decision. There is a different standard of proof. There always has been traditionally. It's what your gut feeling is. But voters are taking all of this into account. They have the information available. They have to continue coming forward of women, and they have the counterarguments. And ultimately, this depends entirely on whether voters are more interested in the policies they think they're going to get or the underlying principle, and it depends on who comes out to vote. CUOMO: Right. Look, and in fairness to the Alabama voters, though,

Margaret, they are not getting the kind of vetting even close that you would usually get at a trial. They're not going to get the benefit of that. That's why a lot of this is guesswork for them. And that's why the big voices that weigh in matter. That's why Nikki Haley is becoming a big headline this morning. She comes out -- let's listen to what Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Obviously, she made her name in the south as a governor of South Carolina. Here's what she said about this.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Women who accuse anyone should be heard. They should be heard, and they should be dealt with. And I think we heard from them prior to the election. And I think any woman who has felt violated or felt mistreated in any way, they have every right to speak up.


CUOMO: Now, this is being cast as a bold statement, breaking with the White House. Margaret, please, feel free to support or deny that. I don't get it. I didn't hear the words be believed. The key is whether or not you believe the women. Of course they have the right to come forward. Of course they have the right to be heard. Did Nikki Haley really break with the White House here?

TALEV: Well, what's important about Nikki Haley's comments, I think, have less to do with Roy Moore's election and more to do with to what extent Roy Moore's election and the debate around this, bring back old allegations about President Trump. We are seeing signs that some of those women who spoke out before last year's presidential election want to come forward again and continue to talk about what they experienced and their concerns.

And so in that context, anything that a cabinet official says that could be seen as giving fuel or a platform for this is going to be read as important.

But look, let's keep in mind, Nikki Haley has three decades of a political career ahead of her. The women's space is going to end up being hugely important to her in her future races. And she wants to preserve a spot to run for president. Everything she says now will be parsed later. And I think that's what we're seeing.

CAMEROTA: And there you have it, David. I just want to mention one more thing. It does seems as though she is making the calculus based on her own political future outside of this cabinet, outside of this administration. Because if she wanted to be secretary of state, she might not have framed it that way.

CUOMO: Right. And that's why she said moving the embassy helps the peace process. Nobody has argued that who has any expertise in the area, David Drucker.

DRUCKER: Well... CUOMO: That moving the embassy to Jerusalem helps the peace process. But that's Nikki Haley trying to be outsized in her opinion. And I would say that what she said about the women is her trying to say the minimal.

DRUCKER: Look, you point out that she has a long political career ahead of her, if she wants it and if she assumes it. And that's the part of this.

But I think the larger discussion about President Trump and his accusers is, No. 1, it happened -- all of -- all of the things that came out about him -- the accusations, the allegations -- were in a pre-Harvey Weinstein era. So we have not had a discussion about the president post-Harvey Weinstein.

And what Democrats feel emboldened to do, even though the election is more than a year ago, is to raise these allegations fresh. Because after pushing out Al Franken and pushing out John Conyers, they feel that, one, it's a discussion they can win; and it's a discussion that American voters are willing to have, given all of these recent events.

And so I think that's why we're going to be hearing a lot more of this. The most interesting part of Al Franken's farewell speech, if you will, from the Senate floor, was when he noted that "I'm falling on my sword, but the guy in the White House is still there, even though the allegations against him are worse."

CAMEROTA: Yes. David Drucker, Margaret Talev, thank you very much for the conversation.

CUOMO: All right. So the election's tomorrow. Let's say Roy Moore wins. What's the Senate going to do? There's been a lot of talk. We're going to ask the vice chair of the Senate Ethics Committee of what the actual options and realities are if Roy Moore comes to the Senate, next.


[07:18:38] CUOMO: All right. Alabama voters head to the polls tomorrow. And Roy Moore has been hit over the head by allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. But you have to be very clear about something. That is not the sum total of what Alabama voters are going to have to choose to support about this man and his candidacy.

For example, he has called homosexuality a crime against nature and inherent evil. He compared it to bestiality. Roy Moore justifies this belief as being a matter of his Christian faith. A faith that he believes comes before the law of the land. He was removed twice as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for ignoring legal precedent.

Once, he insisted on keeping the Ten Commandments in the courthouse. And the other time, for ignoring a Supreme Court ruling that overturned the same-sex marriage ban.

We interviewed Moore back in 2015. That's when he first became relevant to the national audience in recent years, because of his saying that his God comes first.


CUOMO: Times change, definitions change. We didn't think blacks were equal to whites. That changes.

MOORE: No, I believe that's a matter of law, because our rights contained in the Bill of Rights do not come from the Constitution. They come from God. It's clearly staking...

CUOMO: Our laws do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man.


Look, of course you can believe whatever you want in this country. But as a jurist, this is a secular society. The Constitution is what comes first. Imagine a chief justice saying, "No, my faith comes first."

[07:20:07] Now, in an interview with "The Guardian," leading up to the primary in the Senate election, Moore said you could, quote, "very well say America's the focus of evil in the modern world, because America promotes a lot of bad things like same-sex marriage."

The same argument made by Vladimir Putin. This prompted Moore to say, "Well, I guess Putin is more kin to me than I knew."

His views on race. When asked by an African-American what President Trump means by making America great again, Moore hearkened back to the days of slavery for his explanation.


MOORE: I think it was great at a time when families were united, even though we had slavery. They cared for one another.


CUOMO: In 1997, this wasn't a one-off. Moore took on teaching evolution in schools, saying this.


MOORE: We have kids driving by shooting each other that they don't even know each other. They're acting like animals, because we've taught them they come from animals.


CUOMO: Evolution is why we have drive-by shootings?

When it comes to the issue of abortion, here on NEW DAY, Poppy Harlow was caught off-guard by Moore's campaign spokeswoman, Janet Porter's, unprompted pro-life argument. Look at how they made the argument.


JANET PORTER, CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN FOR ROY MOORE: By the way, congratulations on your unborn child. That's the -- that's the reason why I came down as a volunteer to speak for Judge Roy Moore, because he'll stand for the rights of babies like yours in the womb, where his opponent will support killing them up until the moment of birth.


CUOMO: With a smile on her face she said that, talking about Poppy's unborn child.

And the fact is, she misrepresented Doug Jones's position. He does not support late-term abortion.

Now, finally, views on Islam are going to be relevant in the U.S. Senate. Moore calls it a false religion. In fact, he rejected the idea that a Muslim like Minnesota rep Keith Ellison should swear an oath on the Korean instead of the Bible, because he likened the Koran to "Mein Kampf," the Nazi manifesto.

Now, in a speech blasting President Obama's comments about Islam's contribution to the world, he wrote, quote, "Now I'm going to tell you about the only thing I know that the Islamic faith has done in this country is 9/11."

You will recall that many prominent Muslim community leaders loudly denounced the attacks of 9/11. There are millions of American Muslims. They are part of this community. Their faith should be respected.

He also recently agreed with some controversial radio hosts that getting rid of all the amendments to the Constitution after the first 10 would solve a lot of problems. Just to remind, the 13th, the 14th, the 15th, gave us due process, ended slavery, gave the vote to African-Americans. Women voting came thereafter, as did many rights that Moore seems to dismiss.

Notice: I haven't even mentioned the allegations of assault and sexual misconduct that Moore has denied. He has plenty to answer for. And voters have plenty to swallow without those allegations -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Chris, thank you very much for all of that look back at his positions.

So that's your look at Roy Moore's record. What's the biggest factor when voters go to the polls tomorrow.

Joining us now to talk about that are CNN political commentator Ed Martin, who supports Moore and Ana Navarro, a CNN political commentator who opposes Moore's candidacy.

Great to have both of you.


CAMEROTA: So, Ed, you support Roy Moore.

MARTIN: You bet.

CAMEROTA: You just heard Chris delineate all of those positions. Are you comfortable that America was great, he thought, when we had slavery, because that's when families are strong and we had direction? Are you comfortable that he called Islam a false religion? Are you comfortable that homosexuality should be illegal?

MARTIN: Well, I have to say -- good morning. I haven't heard a lot of those in context. But some of them sound like things I don't really believe. But I will tell you this: anybody who knows politics -- and I've been saying this for four and a half weeks -- knows that down the stretch of a hot campaign, a lot of things are going to be thrown out. And the voters have to sort of fight their way through it. So...

CAMEROTA: But are you saying those things aren't true? I mean, all those things that Chris just delineated, you heard them in context there. Are you saying those aren't true, his positions?

MARTIN: Well, I'm saying just saying, for example, that he's against Islam, I have heard Roy Moore talk about the fact that Sharia Law trumps constitutional law in a way that is admitted by Islamic scholars, and that's a problem. I haven't heard him say Islam is a religion, as you quote.

But again, I don't dispute the quotes. What I'm saying is three days before an election, we know this in politics. This is the time where you throw things up.

I also know, by the way, that Doug Jones has done an interview where he said women's right to abortion should never be impeded in any way until the birth of the baby. So I don't know how Chris can say that suddenly, he's not against -- not for partial-birth abortions.

So -- but what I know is, down the stretch, the credibility of all the accusations has to be looked at in the view of what is a very intense campaign.

CAMEROTA: Yes, sure, but these aren't accusations. We're not talking about the accusations. These are his positions, and I have them all spelled out. I mean, these are actually in interviews that he's given in 2016, 2017. These are direct quotes that we're giving you, so these aren't accusations.

[07:25:00] MARTIN: Yes. But, I mean, again, the -- when you -- I'm talking about sound bites. Sound bite, that kind of promotion of an issue. For example, the conscience, the question of conscience and whether the law of the land, American law will trump your own conscience.

We just saw the president of the United States down at a civil rights celebration, where civil rights leaders said, at times your conscience will trump the American law. That's the truth of that. And so we know that from our teaching. So I don't quite know what you're saying when you see he puts that out there.

In other words, again, back to this point, three days before an election, this gets sound bite is for the advantage. And the Alabama voters are going to know Roy Moore and Doug Jones, who have been in public life for 30 years each; and they're going to make a vote on that.

CAMEROTA: Ana, how do you see it?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Don't believe your lying eyes; don't believe your lying ears. What you've just laid out, what Chris just laid out were taken from -- from interviews, were taken from videos, were taken from tapes of Roy Moore. This is not being taken out of context or out of thin air. These are his own words, his own positions.

So look, if child molestation is not enough to drive you -- is not enough to drive you away from Roy Moore, you've got the fact that he's a homophobe, that he's an Islamophobe. That he, you know, talked about slavery as the good old times.

I mean you've got way so many reasons. He's just plain stupid and ignorant, and he's -- there's so many reasons why he's this divisive man that should not be sent to the Senate.

And look -- look, this is going to be up to Alabama voters. But the reason that the rest of us have -- have, you know, a right to opine on this, let's remember this guys' going to the U.S. Senate. His salary will be paid by taxpayers. He's going to be voting on things like civil rights. He's going to be voting on things like women's rights, like violence against women. He's going to be voting on things like hate crime legislation. And this man is just not fit. He is not just fit.

Alabamans are going to have another chance at an election next year. This is a short-term thing. And I think that, you know, many Americans are saying, "Look, we implore you. Don't straddle us with this man who's got such an unfit character." Think of the message you are sending to women, to the many, many women who we've seen have been victims of sexual harassment, much more than anybody in this country, I think, ever thought existed.

What message are we sending to those young girls? What message are we sending to those women who have endured sexual harassment throughout their lifetime?

CAMEROTA: Yes. Hey, Ed...


CAMEROTA: ... I mean, in 2005, he was on C-SPAN2 with Bill Press. Roy Moore was asked about sexuality. He said -- here's his quote: "Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes."

So I mean, times have changed. Here we are in 2017. Are you comfortable with his position today? MARTIN: Well, again, I -- down the stretch of a campaign, I don't

even know the context that was asked. I think that the law of the land...

CAMEROTA: It is -- do you think that homosexuality should be illegal today? And he said yes.

MARTIN: Well, then I don't know how he understood the question, because it's not illegal now and it hasn't been. It's not a federal question.

CAMEROTA: He wishes it were.

MARTIN: He said that? Yes, I mean -- again...

CAMEROTA: "Homosexual conduct should be illegal, yes." That's a quote.

MARTIN: The good news is, that's not something the federal government should be into and is getting into. So that's not something that he's going to have to vote on in the Senate.

But the bad news is for Ana is that Ana is sitting there, and what she really means, and what we should be talking about, instead of name- calling, is Roy Moore is pro-life, against amnesty for illegals, against the kind of big government that Doug Jones wants. That's the issue.

When she called me names, him names, everybody names, the Alabama voters get to vote on two choices of people serving. And by the way, if we want to get into tax dollars for people that are not doing nice things, let's get $17 million -- CNN has led on this. Let's get the $17 million slush fund out there.

CAMEROTA: Yes, yes. Go ahead, Ana. Last word.

NAVARRO: First, let me respond to you. Almost every time you're on with me on TV, you make this about me. I never make it about you. Really, I barely know your name. I have no idea who you are.

MARTIN: I'm not making it about you.

NAVARRO: I never insult you. You just did.


NAVARRO: Every time you're on TV you make it about me. This is not about me.

MARTIN: Your opinions. Your opinions.

NAVARRO: It's about something much larger...

MARTIN: Your policy.

NAVARRO: ... than we're being some sort of personal -- OK, let me get through my sentence, will you?

MARTIN: Alisyn...

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Let her finish.

NAVARRO: I waited for you to finish. So now let me finish. This is not about me. It's about decency. It's about morality. It's about Republicans and Americans not compromising decency and morality.

MARTIN: Name-calling.

NAVARRO: ... for one vote.

MARTIN: Name-calling. You're name-calling. You're name-calling, Ana.

NAVARRO: I wasn't -- Decency and morality is name-calling?

MARTIN: Answer -- answer the policy.

NAVARRO: No, homophobia is.

MARTIN: Answer the policy.

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Let her speak.

NAVARRO: I am answering the policy. This man compared gay marriage to marrying a bridge. I don't know if he meant suspension or what kind of bridge. I mean, this is, you know, sheer stupidity.

Yes, I know, you smirk and you laugh, and it's your response. And you know what? That's fine. Because it is not about you; it's not about me. It's about larger policy. It's about America. It's about the message we are spending the world. It's about the message we are sending children. It's about holding the people elected to a higher standard than we would hold others.


NAVARRO: I don't want to hold some Hollywood producer to a higher standard than I would hold a U.S. senator or president of the United States.

MARTIN: He admitted it.

CAMEROTA: Hold on. Hold on, Ana. Ana, last question. I mean, what I think Ed is suggesting is that, if you're a single-issue voter, if you're anti-abortion --