Politics Mich. Candidate Says He Opposes Abortion After Rape: 'That Little Baby ... May Be the Next President' One leading advocate called Garrett Soldano's comments "dangerous" and "disgusting" as he said he would "not be bullied by the media or the far left into backing down from my pro-life beliefs" By Virginia Chamlee Virginia Chamlee Politics Writer - PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on February 1, 2022 02:56 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos Garrett Soldano. Photo: Garrett Soldano/Facebook A Republican candidate for governor of Michigan has sparked criticism but says he isn't "backing down" after saying on a right-wing podcast that he is against abortion even in cases of rape because women having an abortion don't know whether "that little baby inside them may be the next president, may be the next person who changes humanity." Garrett Soldano made the comments when he was asked about how he would ensure "the sanctity of life" on a Jan. 19 episode of the Face the Facts podcast. Video of Soldano's appearance has since gone viral after being shared on social media. In the interview, Soldano suggested that abortion should be illegal at the moment "DNA is created," saying, "That's even before the heartbeat — when DNA is created, it has a place at the table for life ... DNA is created, then we defend it." He continued: "I get it: There's a lot of situations out there, when you talk about rape and everything else and you say, 'Hey, maybe they deserve an abortion.' " Soldano then told a story about one of his mentors, whom he said had been adopted and later learned that his mother had been "gang-raped in a subway train station by five guys." "It kind of like tore out his heart when he found that out, but then he started to really appreciate and understand what his birth mother went through," Soldano said. "That she had the courage to deliver him ... How about we start inspiring women in the culture to let them understand and know how heroic that they are? And how unbelievable that they are? That God put them in this moment and they don't know that that little baby inside them may be the next president, may be the next person who changes humanity?" Supreme Court Votes to Strike Down Restrictive Louisiana Abortion Law According to his campaign website, Soldano is a "chiropractor, small business owner, author, public speaker, family man, proud Catholic and former [Western Michigan University] football player." In response to Soldano's podcast appearance, Laphonza Butler — president of the pro-abortion access group Emily's List — called his comments "dangerous" and "disgusting." "Garrett Soldano's defense of forcing rape survivors to carry their attacker's child is a disgusting, dangerous attack on women's control over our own bodies and our own lives," she said, writing in another tweet: "With Roe v. Wade under threat at the Supreme Court, the stakes have never been higher. When Garrett Soldano tells you the laws his party wants, the stakes have never been more clear." As Soldano's comments made headlines this week, he tweeted that he would "not be bullied by the media or the far left into backing down from my pro-life beliefs. I believe in the equality of all life and the value of life is not based upon the occasion of its conception, but the sacredness of its essence." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. While the U.S. recently marked the 49th anniversary of the landmark court ruling in Roe v. Wade, a woman's right to access abortion is under mounting legal pressure from anti-abortion advocates and lawmakers. A number of states have implemented highly restrictive laws in an effort to have the Supreme Court's conservative majority overturn Roe. President Joe Biden shared a statement on Twitter earlier this month to mark the Supreme Court decision of 1973 that granted women the nationwide right to access abortion. "We must recommit to strengthening access to reproductive care, defending the right established by Roe, and protecting the freedom of all people to build their own future," Biden said. In 2021, a record 106 restrictions on abortions became law in the U.S.