The Arizona Republican Senate nominee's campaign website said he supported a 'personhood' amendment until Thursday. Now it doesn't.
Arizona Republican Senate nominee Blake Masters released a new ad on Thursday and once again claimed that he has been unfairly accused of misrepresenting his position on abortion.
Masters, who has in the past insisted that he is "unapologetically PRO-LIFE" from conception, until Thursday included on his campaign website a statement in support of "a federal personhood law (ideally a Constitutional amendment) that recognizes that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed." As of Thursday, that statement was gone, along with the phrase "I am 100% pro-life."
After the campaign of his general election opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, and Democratic groups called Masters out for his extreme anti-abortion position, Masters tweeted out the new ad with the message, "Mark Kelly is lying about my views on abortion — the Democrats have to do that because their own position (no limits of any kind, ever) is so extreme. Here's the truth."
In the minute-long ad, filmed as Masters plays with his children, he says, "Most people support commonsense regulation around abortion." Then he lies about Kelly's position: "But Mark Kelly votes for the most extreme abortion laws in the world. We're talking no limits up until birth. Think about how crazy that is. That's more extreme than Western Europe. It's way more extreme than what Arizonans want."
Masters then uses unscientific and incorrect language employed by abortion opponents: "Look, I support a ban on very late-term and partial-birth abortion. And most Americans agree with that." He falsely accuses Kelly of supporting "no-limits extreme abortion policies."
The Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which held that the Constitution guarantees the right to abortion, specified that states could limit abortions after the point where a fetus was viable outside of the uterus, as long as those laws contained exceptions for the life and health of the pregnant person.
A 2003 federal law signed by former President George W. Bush banned some rare later abortion procedures, vaguely called "partial-birth abortion" by opponents and recognized by the Supreme Court in 2007 in Gonzales v. Carhart, in which it upheld the law, to mean intact dilation and extraction. The law contains an exception for the life of the patient, but not for their health.
Prior to winning the Arizona GOP Senate primary, Masters repeatedly expressed his support for a national abortion prohibition, telling the right-wing Center for Arizona Policy that he supports "Prohibiting abortion except when it is necessary to prevent the death of the mother."
Masters' claims about Kelly's position have been debunked by Politifact: He has never backed "no limits up until birth." Rather, Kelly backed the Women's Health Protection Act, a bill that would have codified the right to abortion as affirmed in Roe. Its language expressly noted that restrictions would be allowed "after fetal viability" as long as it included an exception for 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."
Kelley Dupps, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Votes in Arizona, said in a statement:
This desperate move by the Masters campaign is sad but unsurprising. They've made the calculations and know that his true views on abortion and reproductive freedom are deeply out-ot-touch with Arizonans and will cost him the election. Instead of doubling down on his problematic and dangerous record, they're lying — lying about Senator Kelly, lying about Masters' anti-abortion agenda, and lying to themselves if they think Arizonans will fall for it.
A nationwide Navigator survey of registered voters released on Aug. 11 found 80% believe abortion decisions "should be left to the woman and her doctor."
The same poll found that 52% of voters oppose an 1864 Arizona law that criminalizes doctors who perform abortions in the state; 28% support the law, which, subject to an injunction after the Roe decision, is not currently in effect. Arizona Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich has gone to court to get the injunction lifted.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.