Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Wednesday he would have to think "long and hard" before he would consider joining a ticket with a candidate who supports abortion rights.

"This is an issue to me that is very critical. It's one of the reasons that I got into politics because I believe the manner in which we treat innocent life and the matter in which we respect human life, at whatever stage ... is an incredibly powerful statement about who we are as a people," Huckabee told reporters in a conference call. "It's something I would have to think long and hard about."

The Republican presidential candidate and Southern Baptist minister did not specifically name GOP front-runner Rudy Giuliani. The former New York mayor has said he is personally opposed to abortion, but supports a woman's right to choose. Huckabee has questioned that position.

"The sanctity of life is not just some peripheral political position," Huckabee said. "It comes to the very heart of who we are as a culture, and I think that's shared by many people here in South Carolina."