The religious right is threatening to rebel should Rudy Giuliani win the nomination for the White House. But while the former New York City mayor's stance on abortion rights is making him a pariah within some conservative circles, it could win him favor among pro-choice advocates.
In a phone interview with the Huffington Post, NARAL's political director Elizabeth Shipp acknowledged it "would help" the pro-choice movement if a Republican proved it was possible to win the presidency while still supporting abortion rights.
"The Republican Party used to be about the conservative principles of limited government intervention in private life," Shipp said. "It seems to me if they went back to that and stood out from the rigid mainstream, anti-choice agenda, I think yeah, it would be good for the movement."
Could Giuliani be the candidate to take the Republican Party down that road? And would NARAL support him?
"I don't know yet," said Shipp. "He has said some very concerning things since getting into this race. If you have to grade him compared to everyone else you have to give him an incomplete."
NARAL has endorsed only one Republican presidential candidate in the history of its political action committee. The organization made a $5,000 donation to Rep. John Anderson in May 1980 roughly around the time he was leaving the Republican Party to start an Independent presidential bid against Ronald Reagan
As mayor of New York City, Giuliani had a pro-choice record, which has come under intense scrutiny since he entered the presidential race. In the GOP debates this past May, Giuliani said "it would be okay" to repeal Roe v. Wade, before adding, "But ultimately, since it is an issue of conscience, I would respect a woman's right to make a different choice." In recent weeks, a coalition of prominent Christian conservative figures has threatened to support a third-party candidate should Giuliani win the Republican nomination.
NARAL has yet to announce an endorsement in the 2008 race. But Shipp acknowledged that Giuliani is the lone Republican in the field who could potentially win the organization's support.