On May 24, 2022, Arkansas Republican gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders made a campaign promise that touched on the subject of abortion, saying, “We will make sure that when a kid is in the womb, they’re as safe as they are in a classroom, the workplace, a nursing home. Because every stage of life has value. No one greater than the other.” This was a genuine quote.
Sanders said this during her victory speech after winning the Republican nomination in her home state’s 2022 primary election. The victory came just hours following the deadly massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and two teachers died in the mass shooting. The tragic incident reignited the debate over enacting stricter gun control laws in the U.S.
While Sanders indeed made the remark that compared the presumed safety of fetuses in pregnant people’s uteruses to nonbiological spaces such as classrooms on May 24, the video of her statement did not spread widely until the next month.
On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which effectively stripped away the constitutional right to an abortion. Two days later, progressive political commentator Brian Tyler Cohen tweeted the video of Sanders making the in-question remark. According to retweet and “like” numbers on Twitter, the tweet took off like a rocket, receiving well over 100,000 engagements. Cohen’s tweet was also quote-tweeted by film actor Mark Hamill, which gave it a big boost in shares.
In Cohen’s tweet, he specifically said that Sanders’ remarks comparing safety in the womb and classroom were made following her primary win. However, some Twitter users perhaps didn’t know when that victory had taken place and believed that the speech had been delivered following the high court‘s decision.
Here’s more from Sanders’ remarks, which are available in full on YouTube. The portion from Cohen’s video is in bold:
I’m running because I want to make sure that when we drop our kids off at school, they’re getting educated, not indoctrinated. I want to make sure that our kids, when they go into those school doors, are safe.
Today, in the events that took place in Texas, are a stark and humbling reminder of just how precious life is, and what an incredible gift that each of us has been given by our creator to stand here today. Every single life has value, and the most vulnerable among us should be those that we are fighting for and protecting the most. And I can assure you, in my administration, that is exactly what we will do.
We will make sure that when a kid is in the womb, they’re as safe as they are in a classroom, the workplace, a nursing home. Because every stage of life has value. No one greater than the other.
That’s, frankly, what sets us apart. Because we are a culture that values and protects life. And we will do everything we can to make sure it thrives and grows and lives successfully. We can and must do better by the children in this state and in this country.
In sum, yes, one month prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned and just hours following the Uvalde school shooting, Sanders said to a crowd, “We will make sure that when a kid is in the womb, they’re as safe as they are in a classroom, the workplace, a nursing home. Because every stage of life has value. No one greater than the other.”
Note: In addition to the aforementioned victims of the Uvalde school shooting, Joe Garcia, the husband of slain teacher Irma Garcia, also suffered a fatal heart attack two days after the incident. A family member attributed his death to grief.
Debusmann, Jr, Bernd. “Texas School Shooting: Husband of Killed Teacher ‘Dies of Grief.’” BBC News, 27 May 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61569655.
DeMillo, Andrew. “Trump Press Secretary Sanders Wins GOP Arkansas Governor Nod.” AP NEWS, 24 May 2022, https://apnews.com/article/2022-arkansas-primary-governor-92c3770dc9fd23d80e0e3a4bc6797597.
Fichera, Angelo. “Texas School Shooter Wasn’t Arrested for Threat in 2018, Officials Say.” AP News, 28 May 2022, https://apnews.com/article/fact-check-uvalde-2018-tony-gonzales-561365031888.
La Corte, Rachel, and Andrew DeMillo. “States Divided on Gun Controls, Even As Mass Shootings Rise.” Snopes.com via The Associated Press, 26 May 2022, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/05/26/states-divided-on-gun-controls-even-as-mass-shootings-rise/.
MacGuill, Dan, and Jessica Lee. “Live Fact-Checking Updates: US Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade.” Snopes.com, https://www.snopes.com/news/2022/06/24/dobbs-supreme-court-roe-wade/.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders Speaks at Victory Party. 40/29 News, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeLh-0DXASs.