Republican President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday his intent to nominate Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC), who has signed numerous pieces of anti-choice legislation into law during her gubernatorial tenure, as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country,” said Trump in a statement on his choice. “She is also a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage.”
During the Republican presidential primaries, Haley supported Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in his bid for the White House. During the campaign season, she also criticized Trump for not issuing a forceful condemnation of white supremacists.
Haley nonetheless welcomed news of the coming nomination from the president-elect in a statement that said, “Our country faces enormous challenges here at home and internationally, and I am honored that the President-elect has asked me to join his team and serve the country we love as the next Ambassador to the United Nations.”
As Politico noted, “Haley has never served in federal government. She also lacks obvious foreign policy experience, and little is known about her stance on contentious topics such as how to end the war in Syria.”
Among other duties, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has the power to work on behalf of the country to try to ensure that reproductive health and rights are topics addressed by the global community. Advocates have long pushed Samantha Power, who currently holds the position, to do just that.
But Haley seems unlikely to champion the issue given her anti-choice record. In May, Haley signed a 20-week abortion ban into law in South Carolina, despite the fact that it was based on the medically and scientifically unsupported myth that a fetus can feel pain at this point in a pregnancy.
After the anti-choice front group Center for Medical Progress released a series of deceptively edited videos in 2015 attempting to smear Planned Parenthood by claiming it profited from fetal tissue donations, Haley launched an investigation into clinics in her state and later threatened to shut down clinics over findings on record keeping and fetal tissue disposal. A state house panel tasked with investigating Planned Parenthood turned up no evidence of criminal wrongdoing—and no evidence that “abortion clinics [were] donating fetal tissue for medical research or any other purposes,” according to its Republican chairperson.
Speaking on ABC’s The View in 2012, Haley defended the GOP’s crusade to restrict access to reproductive health care and contraception by claiming that “women don’t care about contraception” and that all the party was doing was saying it doesn’t “want government to mandate when we have to have it or when we don’t.”
Haley vetoed a state budget item in 2012 to provide $453,680 for the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, which is composed of 23 organizations working on those issues.
“Each of these [line items] attempts to serve a portion of our population for which we extend our sympathy and encouragement, but nevertheless, it is only a small portion of South Carolina’s chronically ill or abused,” said Haley in an explanation of why she was vetoing the sexual and domestic violence program and money meant for other health programs. “Overall, these special add-on lines distract from the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s broader mission of protecting South Carolina’s public health.”
If Haley is confirmed, South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster will presumably take her spot as governor.