Republican candidates, many of whom began their runs for office this year trying to out-extreme each other on their anti-abortion views, are very quickly discovering that those positions aren’t palatable to the overwhelming majority of their constitutents.
Spooked by polls showing that control of the Senate is effectively a toss-up, as well as the Kansas abortion referendum and House special elections where Democrats are overperforming President Joe Biden’s 2020 showing, Republican candidates are now reportedly gutting their websites of their previously hard-line positions on abortion.
Blake Masters, the Peter Thiel-backed Arizona Senate candidate, ran an ad last week saying he supports “common-sense regulation around abortion” after attacks from his Democratic opponent, Sen. Mark Kelly. He also published an overhaul of his website that removed a reference to him being “100 percent pro-life,” according to NBC News.
Now, Masters’ website says he supports “a law or a Constitutional amendment” banning abortions in the third trimester, which make up roughly 1 percent of abortions in the U.S. and are almost always done in order to protect the health of the pregnant person.
In Arizona, which President Joe Biden narrowly won in 2020, flipping it from the GOP for the first time in decades, the legal status of abortion remains unclear. There’s currently an ongoing court battle over whether a 1901 ban predating Arizona statehood is enforceable, but a judge issued an injunction against enforcing it last month, and Planned Parenthood resumed providing abortions there this week.
Michigan state Sen. Tom Barrett, who’s running for a U.S. House seat, deleted from his website last week a “values” section that described him as pro-life, according to the Detroit News. Barrett later told the paper he doesn’t “watch my own website every day,” but that his staff “probably were updating things based upon the issues that were most salient right now.”
Other Republican candidates around the country are, shall we say, brushing up their campaign websites, Politico reported Monday.
Christian Castelli, a House candidate in North Carolina, posted on his website before a contested primary in May that he would “protect the unborn from conception to birth,” according to Greensboro-based Fox 8. Castelli’s issues page now contains no mention of abortion.
And Colorado Republican House candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer, a state senator, spoke at the state’s March for Life in Denver in January and celebrated the fall of Roe v. Wade as an “exciting day for those of us who have toiled for the pro-life cause for so long!”
But although as recently as last month her campaign website said she would “defend the sanctity of life” if elected to Congress, Politico reported, abortion is now missing from her website entirely.
Polls since the Dobbs decision in June have consistently shown that a majority of Americans oppose the ruling, and an AP poll last month found a majority would also support a federal law guaranteeing abortion access.
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