Christie tells conservatives ‘we need to be pro-life for the whole life,’ not just in womb

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) addressed an audience of socially conservative activists Friday with this message: Holding an antiabortion position should extend to supporting people not just at birth but for the rest of their lives, too.

Christie made a case for emphasizing treatment over incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. And he said that educational opportunities for children need to be expanded though the creation of more charter schools.

"I believe if you are pro-life, as I am, you need to be pro-life for the whole life," Christie said. "You can't just afford to be pro-life when the human being is in the womb."

The governor made his remarks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition's "Road to Majority" conference in Washington, where religious conservatives gathered to hear speeches from leading GOP figures. The lineup includes Christie, Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

Christie said the "war on drugs" as it has been fought for the past four decades has not worked, and that it is time to focus on treatment when it comes to nonviolent drug offenders. Christie wagered to the audience that all of them have been touched by struggles with addiction -- either personally or through friends or family.

Christie also assailed Democrats on abortion. Arguing that the Democratic Party is less tolerant than the GOP, Christie pointed to Republicans with pro-abortion rights views who have been given high-profile speaking opportunities at GOP gatherings.

"Names like Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Tom Ridge — all Republicans who are pro-choice who spoke at Republican conventions," Christie said, insisting that Democrats have not been as open to antiabortion rights members of their party.

"Theirs is the party that is intolerant," he said, adding, "we should no longer sit around and allow ourselves to be punching bags."

Christie, as he has in the past, pointed to his ability to work with a Democratic legislature in New Jersey as a contrast to the logjam that has plagued Washington.

"I wake up every morning with a Democratic legislature, everybody," Christie said. "And that means I wake up knowing I'm not going to get everything I want."

Sean Sullivan covers national politics for “The Fix.”
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Sean Sullivan | June 20