Republican Senate candidates are clarifying abortion stances as Democrats attempt to paint the GOP as having “extremist” pro-life positions, hoping the issue will motivate their base to show up to the polls this November.
Tiffany Smiley, the GOP candidate challenging Democratic Sen. Patty Murray in Washington state, released an ad Thursday where she accused the incumbent of falsely attacking her position on abortion by claiming she wants a nationwide abortion ban.
“Patty Murray has spent millions to paint me as an extremist. I’m pro-life but I oppose a federal abortion ban,” Smiley says in her ad. She goes on to say that “Patty Murray wants to scare you, I want to serve you.”
Democrats have latched on to abortion as a key midterms issue following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which undid nearly 50 years of judicial precedent recognizing a constitutional right to an abortion. The majority opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by four other justices appointed by Republican presidents, determined that the Constitution and courts, up until the 1973 Roe v Wade decision, did not protect abortion as a fundamental human right.
In Arizona, Republican nominee Blake Masters also released a video on social media Thursday where he states that he supports a ban on late term and partial birth abortion, and accused Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of lying about his abortion views.
Kelly has funded an ad that states Masters “supports a total abortion ban. Rape. Incest. No exceptions,” the ad states.
“Mark Kelly votes for the most extreme abortion laws in the world,” Masters said in his Thursday video, pointing out that the Womens Health Protection Act is “more extreme than western Europe, it’s way more extreme than what Arizonan’s want.”
The only countries with abortion positions similar to Kelly’s, Masters said, are China and North Korea.
Smiley “strongly believes that the decisions regulating abortion belong as close to the voters as possible, which is in the states,” a campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital, stating that she supports the Hyde Amendment which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion. Murray, on the other hand, has called for creating an abortion fund to assist women getting abortions, as well as an end to the Hyde Amendment.
“The true extremist in this race is Patty Murray, who supports taxpayer-funded, on-demand abortions at any time, even up to the point of birth,” Smiley said.
Masters also stated that Kelly supports abortion up to the moment of birth, based on his vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act which ultimately failed. The bill would make it impossible for states to ban abortion at any point in the first or second trimester of a pregnancy (prior to the unborn baby’s viability to survive outside the womb), and would ban any limitation on “abortion after fetal viability when, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care provider, continuation of the pregnancy would pose a risk to the pregnant patient’s life or health.”
Some media outlets have accused Masters of backtracking. NBC reported that Masters also changed some language on his website, removing a statement that he was “100% pro-life,” but Masters’ campaign told Fox News that his position on abortion has not changed, and that he updates his website frequently.
His campaign also referred Fox to an interview Masters gave with the Arizona Republic, where he said he supported a federal ban on third-trimester abortions, adding that a person-hood amendment could help that. He stated that “I would look to Arizona’s (15-week) law and say I’m OK with it. I think it’s a reasonable solution, which reflects where the electorate is.”
Last week, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet released an ad Thursday attempting to paint his Republican opponent Joe O’Dea as someone who wants to ban all abortion. However, O’Dea is far more pro-choice than much of his party.
“Michael Bennet has always fought for a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, but Joe O’Dea opposes the law protecting abortion access in Colorado,” one Coloradan said in Bennet’s ad. “O’Dea would have voted to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade,” another person says.
“It’s just not true,” O’Dea told Fox News Digital of his ad, repeating his position that he opposes late-term abortions but believes that early in a pregnancy, a woman’s decision to terminate should be “between her, her doctor, and her God.” He also opposed the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which overturned nearly 50 years of legal precedent protecting abortion as a constitutional right.
Prominent pro-life activist Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, cautioned Republican candidates against changing positions for political expediency in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“Children deserve robust advocacy, not compromises that cost their very lives. Our pre-born children are living and distinct members of the human family. They are little Americans, and they deserve equal protection under the law guaranteed to them by our Constitution. That means ending the unjust and violent killing of abortion,” Rose said.
Rose suggested that GOP candidates were more forceful about pro-life stances when they were running for the Republican nomination.
“Pro-life candidates for office understood this truth during their primary battles, and they cannot afford to alienate their base as we barrel towards the general election. It is not smart politics to mislead or disengage with the base of voters you need to turn out and vote. Pro-life candidates must stay true to their word and campaign on the issue of saving human life to ensure pro-life voters are energized and head to the polls,” Rose said.