The first Republican presidential debate for the 2016 presidential election took place on Thursday, August 6 in Cleveland, Ohio. The debate, hosted by Fox News, was divided into two time slots-- the first featured the seven candidates who did not make it to the top ten based on the recent national polls, and the second debate at 9:00 pm consisted of the top 10 contenders. Candidates were asked questions on issues covering topics such as abortion and immigration.

In light of the recent Planned Parenthood controversy which has revealed Planned Parenthood executives speaking of selling aborted fetal body parts, pro-life advocates have called for the defunding of the organization while the Senate has recently blocked a bill to do so.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was questioned about his connection to the Bloomberg Family Foundation which gave several million dollars in donations to Planned Parenthood. Bush had served on the board of the foundation.

“How could you not know about these well-publicized donations, and if you did know, how could you help a charity so committed to abortion rights?” Fox news host Megyn Kelly asked.

“I joined the Bloomberg Foundation because of Mike Bloomberg’s commitment to meaningful education reform… Here’s my record: As governor of Florida I defunded Planned Parenthood,” Bush contended.

When further questioned whether he was aware of the foundation’s donations, he replied, “No I didn’t know.”

“My record as a pro-life governor is not in dispute.. This is something that goes way beyond politics, and I hope we get to a point where we respect life in its fullest form.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claims that he would take on a much “bolder” position when moderator Chris Wallace asked him how he would appeal to Independents and Democrats while advocating for constitutional amendments banning abortion.

“I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment… I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception."

“...this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law,” Huckabee argued.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, when asked for his stance, replied he is pro-life and pointed to the bill that he signed in July that barred emergency abortions at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“I’m pro-life, I’ve always been pro-life… I believe that that is an unborn child that’s in need of protection out there, and I’ve said many a time that that unborn child can be protected, and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven,” Walker said.

He added, “I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out…”

When it comes to immigration, Walker says he no longer advocates for a pathway to citizenship because he “actually listened to the American people.”

He believes the nation needs to “secure the border, enforce the law, no amnesty, and go forward with a legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and wages.”

Real estate billionaire and television personality Donald Trump echoed Walker’s statement saying “we need...to build a wall to keep illegals out.”

Bush expressed similar sentiments stating the need to “control our border” and “fix this once and for all.” He spoke of wanting to get rid of sanctuary cities. However, unlike Walker, Bush supports earned legal status.
“I believe that the great majority of people coming here illegally have no other option, and they want to provide for their family.,,” Bush said.

For illegal immigrants already in the country “there should be a path to earned legal status,” he expressed.

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