Rapper Kanye West has held a campaign rally in a bid to drum-up support for his presidential run. Speaking in South Carolina at the weekend, the outspoken artist addressed the issue of abortion through the lens of his personal experience, revealing that he and his wife, Kim Kardashian-West, thought about aborting their daughter before God told him to keep her.
Breaking down in tears, West also revealed that his own father expressed his wish for him to be aborted. "My Mum saved my life. My Dad wanted to abort me," he screamed during the appearance. "There would have been no Kanye West. Because my Dad was too busy."
Speaking of his own personal situation, Kanye said: "My girlfriend called me screaming, crying. I'm a rapper. And she said I'm pregnant. She was crying."
West noted that she "had the pills in her hand" before breaking down and shouting, "I almost killed my daughter!" The crowd could be heard responding, "but you didn't!" and "we love you Kanye!"
Kanye explained how God spoke to him while he was in Paris, and urged him to keep the child. "I called my wife and she said, we're gonna have this baby. I said we're gonna have this child. So even if my wife were to divorce me after this speech, she brought North into the world when I didn't want to.
"She stood up and she protected that child."
Kanye clarified his view that abortions should be legal but that more support must be put in place to support struggling parents. "The option of maximum increase should be available," he said. "Everybody who has a baby gets a million dollars or something."
The rapper continued: "The only thing that can free us is by obeying the rules that were given to us for a promised land. Abortion should be legal because guess what? The law is not by God anyway, so what is legality?"
West said he wanted to make a point about abortion using diagrams, but decided not to after receiving backlash for posting a picture of a six-month-old fetus on Twitter earlier this month. "I wanted to show everyone what a six-month-old baby, that is legal to abort in New York, looks like," he said. "I even heard they could abort up to eight months."
The artist, who has spoken openly about his faith in recent times, said his presidential campaign was "in service to God" and has been taking to social media to encourage his social media to help him get on the ballot in different US states. West managed to get on the ballot in Oklahoma last week, after paying a $35,000 fee. With that said, there is some lingering confusion over whether Kanye is still technically in the race, with one electoral strategist hired by Mr West saying that "he's out".
Others have voiced concerns about Kanye's mental health, insisting that he is in the middle of a manic episode. Kanye previously revealed his diagnosis of bipolar disorder - a condition for which he has spent time in psychiatric care.
"He has admitted in the past he has been battling mental illness and that sometimes he does not take medication," Professor Jason Nichols, a senior lecturer in African-American studies at the University of Maryland, told the BBC. "He was a little more coherent than he has been in other times...when he has gone on these rants, but I really believe he is in a bad place right now. He said some really bizarre things."
At one point during the rally, West told the crowd that famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman "never actually freed the slaves" but instead "just had the slaves go work for other white people", prompting gasps from many of those in attendance.
"We are all equal in God’s eyes,” Kanye said during the rally. “Sometimes people are controlled by demons, sometimes people are controlled by the environment that we are in but we are all God’s people, there [are] no bad people. There are lost people, but we are all God’s people.”