DES MOINES, Iowa — The Family Leader held their third ever Thanksgiving Family Forum, hosting three presidential candidates in downtown Des Moines Friday.
Vivek Ramaswamy, Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis all sat together at a Thanksgiving-style family table, for a a roundtable discussion.
President and CEO of The Family Leader, Bob Vander Plaats, moderated the discussion. Candidates talked about a multitude of issues including Israel’s right to defend itself, their own faith, the persecution of Christians and their thoughts on abortion legislation.
“That drove my conviction and my passion for the sanctity of human life. So beyond the talking points, is there a conviction point for you, any of you?,” said Vander Plaats, asking each candidate to share stories or their reasoning behind supporting pro-life legislation.
For Ramaswamy, he said that science drives his beliefs.
“To say that life ends on the back end when brain waves end, nobody disputes that. If we apply that rule on the back end, then that means life begins no later than when brain waves begin. That’s 5 to 6 weeks. And so the logic of it leads me there,” said Ramaswamy.
Ramaswamy brought his first-born up on stage, sharing publicly for the first time he and his wife had a miscarriage before they had their first child.
Haley was asked by Vander Plaats to clarify her comments on abortion during the last debate in Miami. He said that some people could view it as pro-choice.
“So we can’t ban abortions on the Republican side any more than the Democrats can ban these state laws. So if we’re focused on how do we save as many babies as possible, then lets come together and say what can we do,” said Haley.
Haley has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that there will have to be compromise on a federal abortion law if it sees any action in Congress. Haley explained that any federal law is better than no law. She also shared about her husband and how he was adopted, and how important that ended up being for her and her children’s lives.
DeSantis expanded on family programs and the role of a father figure in the house. The DeSantis family also experienced a miscarriage before having their first-born child. The Florida Governor said that there needs to be more funding focused on incentivizing the family unit.
“You should not have any program that disincentivizes family formation and we should utilize the resources in our society to make sure that that family unit is upheld as really the most important unit of government in our society,” said Governor DeSantis.
Former President Donald Trump was invited but did not attend the Thanksgiving Forum. He will be in Fort Dodge on Saturday for a campaign rally.