Ben Carson greets supporters after a speech at Iowa State University on Saturday. (Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters)
Dr. Ben Carson says he would “love” to see Roe v. Wade overturned, making abortion illegal in nearly all cases.
“I’m a reasonable person, and if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, I’ll listen,” Carson said in an interview that aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday.
Unreasonable explanations, according to the Republican presidential candidate, include unwanted pregnancies in cases of rape and incest.
“Rape and incest, I would not be in favor of killing a baby because the baby came about in that way,” he said.
The only case Carson would consider allowing an abortion would be for the health and safety of the mother.
“That’s an extraordinarily rare situation,” the retired neurosurgeon said. “But if in that very rare situation it occurred, I believe there’s room to discuss that.”
He even compared abortion to slavery, and the women who have them to slave owners.
“During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave.” Carson said. “Anything that they chose to do.”
Carson’s views on abortion have changed dramatically. In 1992, he said he “would never advocate it be illegal for a person to get an abortion.”
In an interview with Yahoo News last week, Carson refused to directly answer whether he would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
“I favor life. That’s what I favor,” Carson said, adding that he would appoint Supreme Court justices who “understand that a baby in the uterus is a human being and is protected by the Constitution.”
Carson is campaigning in Iowa, where he has surpassed Republican frontrunner Donald Trump among GOP caucus-goers.
Like Trump, Carson’s candidacy has been marked by a string of controversial comments.
In October 2013, Carson said Obamacare “is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”
In March, Carson said he believes homosexuality is a choice — offering prison as proof.
“A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight,” Carson told CNN. “And when they come out, they’re gay. So did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question.”
Last month, Carson said he believed a Muslim should not be elected president.
“I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” Carson said on “Meet the Press.” “I absolutely would not agree with that.”
The remarks were met with an immediate backlash, with several GOP candidates and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, calling on Carson to withdraw from the presidential race.
But Carson refused to back down, telling the Hill newspaper that the commander in chief should be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran.”
And following the deadly shootings at Umpqua Community College in Oregon earlier this month, Carson suggested the victims should have attacked the shooter.
“I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Carson said on “Fox & Friends.” “I would say, ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.’”
“From the indications I got, they did not rush the shooter,” he said on “CBS This Morning.”
“I said what I would do,” Carson told ABC News. “I would ask everyone to attack the gunman. That way we wouldn’t all end up dead.”
In a speech Friday night, Trump called the soft-spoken Carson “super low energy.”
On Sunday, Carson said he has “plenty of energy,” though he admitted he has “a tendency to be relaxed.”
“I wasn’t always like that,” Carson added. “As a teenager, I would go after people with rocks and bricks and baseball bats and hammers. And, of course, many people know the story when I was 14 and I tried to stab someone. And, you know, fortunately, you know, my life has been changed. And I’m a very different person now.”