Some GOP contenders tiptoe around Texas abortion case

A Texas abortion case has continued to grab headlines in recent days, and GOP presidential hopefuls have started to weigh in from the campaign trail. On Monday the state Supreme Court ruled against the woman at the center of the case, Kate Cox, who was seeking an abortion after discovering that her fetus had a fatal genetic disorder. She had said earlier on Monday that she would leave the state for the procedure, as her health was deteriorating.  

Asked about the case in New Hampshire, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy told reporters that he has been “crystal clear” that abortion is a state issue and said his stance is a “winning approach” for the GOP, per NBC’s Nnamdi Eguwonwu and Emma Barnett.    

And NBC’s Sarah Dean reports that former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley told ABC News that she did not know the details of the case but that the abortion issue should “in the hands of the people,” not judges.

“We’re watching states make these decisions,” Haley said. “Some states are going more pro-life. I welcome that. Some states are going more on the choice side. I wish that wasn’t the case, but the people decide.”

It appears Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has yet to weigh in on the Texas case, but on Monday he did lean into the issue of abortion on the campaign trail, citing it as a key difference between him and Haley during an Iowa town hall, per NBC’s Alec Hernández.  

“I think she’s catering to folks who are not pro-life,” DeSantis said. “I think she’s just not been somebody that’s been able to articulate the premise of why people are pro-life, whereas I’ve actually delivered results when it comes to that.” 

DeSantis also said Trump has “taken himself out of the running” because of his changing stance on the issue, contrasting Trump’s 2020 March for Life speech with his criticism of six-week abortion bans.

In other campaign news … 

Debate drama: CNN’s January debate in Iowa remains in question, as Haley has not said whether she will participate, per Axios.  

Trump trial: Special counsel Jack Smith has asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on whether Trump could be immune from prosecution in the 2020 election interference case, per NBC’s Lawrence Hurley. 

New Hampshire threat: A New Hampshire man was arrested on Monday after threatening to kill Vivek Ramaswamy and his supporters, per NBC’s Katherine Koretski, Michael Kosnar and Nnamdi Egwuonwu.

Poll position: CNN released polls in Michigan and Georgia showing former President Donald Trump with an advantage over President Joe Biden, although the Georgia results are within the margin of error. But the surveys did find that nearly half of the voters in those battleground states say that if the criminal charges against Trump regarding election interference are true, those charges would be disqualifying.  

The stakes in 2024: Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spoke with NBC’s Julie Tsirkin about the importance of democracy in the 2024 presidential race, saying, “I don’t know that [reproductive freedom is] more important than voting rights and the fundamentals of our democracy, because that’s how we secure reproductive rights.”

AI on the line: A congressional candidate in Pennsylvania launched an artificial intelligence campaign caller, in what its creators think is the first-ever AI campaign phone volunteer of its kind, Politico reports. 

She’s running: Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is running for her 16th term in Congress after losing the Houston mayoral race runoff on Saturday by almost 30 percentage points, the Washington Post reports.