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This GOP member is urging for action on gun control and abortion rights

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks to reporters as she leaves the U.S. Capitol Building on January 27, 2023.
Anna Moneymaker
Getty Images
Rep. Nancy Mace speaks to reporters as she leaves the U.S. Capitol Building on January 27, 2023.

Welcome to the NPR series where we spotlight the people and things making headlines — and the stories behind them.

Rep. Nancy Mace isn't convinced about some of the stances her party is taking. And she's already facing blowback for it.

Who is she? Nancy Mace is a South Carolina congresswoman and Republican.

  • A South Carolina native to the Lowcountry region, she was elected to represent the state's first congressional district in 2021.
  • According to her website, Mace's first job was as a Waffle House waitress, and she eventually became the first woman to graduate from the Corps of Cadets program at the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina.
  • Her tenure has focused on party-aligned issues like inflation, taxes, the second amendment, the Southern border and the current culture wars over gender identity and inclusivity.
  • What's the big deal? While Mace sees eye to eye with many GOP members on other issues, reproductive health and action on mass shootings have become a point of contention.

  • Mace, who identifies as pro-life, has been a vocal defendant of the right to choose as more GOP legislators push forward with bills that continue to restrict access to abortion across the country, calling the efforts "extreme" and pointing out that the largely unpopular moves could alienate potential voters and endanger people with a uterus.
  • On a CNN appearance earlier in April, Mace called for the FDA to ignore the court ruling suspending the approval of Mifepristone.
  • She also separately called upon her party members to take more action in response to the increasing rate of mass shootings, sharing that she and her own children were near the Isle of Palms shooting that took place earlier this month.
  • Mace was also one of the few GOP members to speak out against former President Donald Trump's possible role in Jan. 6th, though that position has waned over time.

  • Want more politics? Listen to Consider This explore what the phrase 'tough on China' really means.

    What are people saying?

    Mace on abortion during her CNN appearance:

    This is an FDA-approved drug. I support the usage of FDA-approved drugs, even if we might disagree. It's not up to us to decide as legislators or as the court system that- whether or not this is the right drug to use or not. This is an issue that Republicans have been largely on the wrong side of. We have, over the last nine months, not shown compassion towards women, and this is one of those issues that I've tried to lead on as someone who's 'pro-life' and just have some common sense.

    Everybody's welcome to their own opinion. I represent a very purple district that is really a bellwether for the rest of the country. And I can tell you, far more than the vast majority of 60-70% of Americans are not going to agree with this decision. And there are many pro-life people that, also while they're pro-life, they don't want the government to intervene in this radical of a manner, and the FDA has a rigorous process.

    And during another TV appearance:

    We've got 14 counties in South Carolina that don't have a single OBGYN doctor. So if we're going to ban abortion, what are we doing to make sure women have access to birth control?

    Mace on gun control during a FOX News appearance:

    Every mass shooting, there's just silence, and prayers are offered, Easter baskets are offered, but no real solutions,

    Republicans can no longer be silent on this issue. And it's not about the Second Amendment. There are plenty of things that we can be doing besides offering prayers and silence,

    Those kinds of common sense things are all things that every American on either side of the aisle can get behind, but yet every time there's a mass shooting, and they're increasing every year, every week, we don't say anything. We want to bury our heads in the sand and hope that it goes away. But guess what? It's not going away.

    So, what now?

  • Earlier this week, pro-life protestors gathered outside Mace's South Carolina offices, calling for her to resign in the wake of her comments regarding the abortion drug ruling.
  • Mace has called for stronger background checks in the purchase of firearms in addition to improved alert systems.
  • It's important to note that Mace has also dedicated a large portion of her 'women's rights' platform to "women in sports", co-sponsoring The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, which seeks to ban transgender women and girls from participating in girls' and women's school sports.

    Learn more:

  • Out-of-staters are flocking to places where abortions are easier to get
  • What could make a hoax call reporting a school shooting worse? Social media
  • Why anti-abortion groups are citing the ideas of a 19th-century 'vice reformer'
  • Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Manuela López Restrepo
    Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.