Utah GOP congressman says it 'stinks' that he has to decide abortion issues for women


'I wish, as a man, I didn't have to make this decision. I wish women could make this decision,' Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) said during a debate on Oct. 6.

Incumbent Republican Rep. John Curtis of Utah, who calls himself "unapologetically pro-life," said during a debate with his Democratic challenger in the 2022 election, Glenn Wright, that he wishes women could decide on state laws regulating abortion, but that overwhelmingly male legislatures have to do it themselves.

"Now look, I get it. If you're a woman, it stinks that most of these legislatures are men. Most of these decisions are made by men. I wish it were other than that. I wish as a man I didn't have to make this decision. I wish women could make this decision," Curtis said during the debate in Salt Lake City on Thursday night. "That being said, it falls on state legislatures to thoughtfully decide in their state what they want to do."

Curtis said that after the Supreme Court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision affirming the constitutional right to an abortion in the United States, "It falls on state legislatures to thoughtfully decide in their state what they want to do. … There's far more accountability on a state level than there is on a federal level. … As we watch this play out , across the United States, I think you're going to see legislatures take different positions. That's the beauty of states rights. And as a federal legislator, I quite frankly believe that's where it should be."

Wright was shown raising his eyebrows as Curtis made his remarks and responded: "I think putting women in jeopardy in a significant portion of our states is not a good idea."

Curtis is running for reelection in Utah's 3rd Congressional District, a safe Republican district that former President Donald Trump carried by 19 points in 2020.

While Curtis' seat may not be in jeopardy, his comments are an example of the sorts of things Republican lawmakers have come up with as they adjust to politics in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on abortion rights.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) proposed a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks' gestation, five weeks before doctors perform anatomy ultrasounds that can reveal fetal abnormalities that are not compatible with life.

But that rankled some Republicans, who worry that Republicans banding together to support a national ban would hamper the party's chances in the midterm elections.

Polling shows a majority of voters disapprove of the decision to overturn Roe, with majorities believing that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Democrats in races across the country have blanketed the television airwaves with ads hitting Republicans on their opposition to abortion rights.

After Curtis' comments Thursday night, Democrats wasted no time highlighting them in their messaging.

"I wish as a woman, and as a fully developed adult, you had a clue," tweeted Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), who has publicly discussed her own abortion.

"Watch this video. This is a republican congressman. Republicans think women can't be trusted to manage their own bodies and lives and must be controlled," Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) tweeted.

"Women of America: @RepJohnCurtis just challenged you. He wishes he didn't have to tell you what to do with your bodies. I think you know what to do," tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) tweeted.

Curtis' campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he stands by his assertion Thursday night that where a person lives should determine whether they have autonomy over their own body.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.