Asked, “Are you pro-life? Are you pro-choice? What is your thought on abortion?”, Rice responded: “I believe if you go back to 2000, when I helped the president in the campaign, I said that I was, in effect, kind of Libertarian on this issue, and meaning by that that I have been concerned about a government role in this issue. I’m a strong proponent of parental choice, of parental notification. I’m a strong proponent of a ban on late-term abortion. These are all things that I think unite people and I think that that’s where we should be. I’ve called myself at times mildly pro-choice.
With little prompting Rice continued, “Yeah, mildly pro-choice. That’s what that means. I think that there are a lot of things that we can unite around, and that’s where I would tend to be. I’m very comfortable with the president’s view that we have to respect and need to have a culture that respects life. This should be an issue pretty infrequently because we ought to have a culture that says that, ‘Who wants to have an abortion? Who wants to see a daughter or a friend or, you know, a sibling go through something like that?’ And so I believe the president has been in exactly the right place about this, which is, we have to respect the culture of life and we have to try and bring people to have respect for it and make this as rare a circumstance as possible.”
When told of the belief that in order to be elected a Republican president, a contender must be firmly pro-life, Rice responded, “I’m not trying to be elected.”
Rice was then pushed on abortion, with Washington Times White House correspondent Bill Sammon saying, “But it sounds like you do not wish to change the laws that now allow (abortion)…”
Rice responded, “Well, I don’t spend my entire life thinking about these issues. You know, I spend my time really thinking about the foreign policy issues. But you know that I’m a deeply religious person and so, from my point of view, these extremely difficult moral issues where we have—where we’re facing issues with technology and the prolongation of life and the fact that very, very young babies are able to survive now—very small babies are able to survive—these are great moral issues.
What I do think is that we should not have the federal government in a position where it is forcing its views on one side or the other. So, for instance, I’ve tended to agree with those who do not favor federal funding for abortion, because I believe that those who hold a strong moral view on the other side should not be forced to fund it.”