Misleading super PAC ad claims Blake Masters wants to 'compromise' on abortion rights

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The Arizona Senate ad was sponsored by a group tied to the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.

An anti-abortion super PAC released a misleading new ad on Friday, dishonestly claiming that Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) supports abortion "right up to the due date, for any reason." The ad also attempted to present Arizona Senate Republican nominee Blake Masters as only wanting a reasonable "compromise," despite his long history of backing total abortion bans.

The 30-second ad is being run by Women Speak Out, a super PAC affiliated with the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America — formerly known as Susan B. Anthony List. In the 2020 campaign, the super PAC reported receiving at least $4 million from right-wing billionaire Richard Uihlein.

After showing images of people celebrating the beginning of a pregnancy, a narrator says, "From that moment, a child should be protected. Blake Masters supports compromise: reasonably regulate late-term abortion, with an exception to protect the mother. But Mark Kelly's position is extreme: abortion even after the sonogram, right up to the due date, for any reason. Kelly is just not reasonable."

Arizona polling has shown that most voters oppose an abortion ban.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America is one of the leading anti-abortion groups in the United States. Its website touts "life-saving laws" barring even "early abortion" and tracks the effort to enact "total/near total limits on abortion" in all 50 states.

The ad repeats a debunked claim being pushed by Masters that because Kelly voted for the Women's Health Protection Act — a bill that would have codified the right to choose an abortion as had been guaranteed in the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling — that means he backs unrestricted abortion up until the moment of birth.

In reality, the legislation expressly allowed for restrictions "after fetal viability," as long as they included an exception for the rare cases where, "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."

Kelly told the Washington Post on Thursday that he is not opposed to "restrictions on abortion late in pregnancy." His campaign site notes that "Mark will always defend and protect the right of Arizona women to make their own healthcare decisions."

And while the ad attempts to paint Masters as a centrist seeking a "compromise" position, he has long advocated for a near-total abortion ban.

Before winning the GOP Senate primary in August, Masters sold himself to voters as "100%" against abortion at any time.

"I'm just unapologetically and unqualifiedly pro-life," he told the Pima County Republican Club in August 2021. "From conception."

That December, he posted a video in which he called legal abortion "a genocide happening in America."

Indeed, up until last month, his website contained language backing "a federal personhood law (ideally a Constitutional amendment) that recognizes that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed."

Since that time, Masters has scrubbed his anti-abortion positions from his website.

Kelly has been endorsed in the race by both NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

An Arizona Republic poll of likely voters released Tuesday found Kelly leading Masters by a 49%-42% margin.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.