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GOP Senate Candidate Offers Master Class in How to Highlight Dems' Radical Abortion Stance

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters turned the tables on Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona during a debate in Phoenix Thursday night when the Democrat tried to paint his challenger as a pro-life extremist.

Democratic lawmakers and candidates nationwide have tried to use the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade to cudgel Republicans over abortion policy.

As most Americans likely understand, Dobbs did not make abortion illegal nationwide, but left the matter up to state law. The justices determined the U.S. Constitution was silent on the issue, and therefore there is no federal constitutional right to obtain an abortion.

In March, prior to the Dobbs ruling, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, or four months into the pregnancy.

There are exceptions when the life of the mother is at risk or she faces a permanent, irreversible health injury if the pregnancy continues, the Associated Press reported.

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However, when Roe was overturned, it did present a legal question, currently making its way through the court system, whether Arizona’s complete ban on abortion, except to save the life of the mother — a law dating back to 1901 — is back in effect.

But the issue will ultimately be worked out at the state level. If the court rules the old law applies, the legislature can pass its 15-week limit again, which in itself defied Roe. The 1973 court decision prevented states from restricting abortion until the unborn child was “viable” outside the womb, about 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

At Thursday’s debate, moderator Ted Simons of Arizona PBS asked Kelly if he would codify Roe.

“Of course,” the senator answered, and then proceeded to attack Masters as a radical who wants pretty much a total ban on abortion.

Do you think Masters handled the abortion issue well?

Asked his stance, Masters responded, “I’m pro-life and that means I believe in limits. Now I support exceptions because I don’t believe in being extreme on this issue.”

“Sen. Mark Kelly is the abortion radical. Sen. Kelly in Washington he voted … no, actually, he sponsored; he didn’t just vote for it … he sponsored a bill that would have mandated legal abortion nationwide — get this — up until the moment of birth,” Masters explained.

That’s exactly what needed to be said: My opponent’s the radical.

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Masters referenced Kelly’s co-sponsoring of the Women’s Health Protection Act, which the senator voted for in May.

The legislation fell short in the senate, failing to garner even a simple majority, much less overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold.

Moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska did not vote for the bill, though she is a Roe supporter, because she concluded it went “well beyond the precedent established in Roe and [Planned Parenthood v.] Casey,” she said in a statement at the time.

“It does not include the Hyde amendment, which prohibits taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortions—and has been the law almost as long as Roe,” Murkowski pointed out.

“It does not include conscience protections for healthcare providers that refuse to perform abortions based on religious beliefs. It explicitly overrides the Religious Freedom Restoration Act for the first time. It also allows late-term abortions without any notable restrictions.”

Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine also opposed the Women’s Health Protection Act, once again determining the law went too far.

If Democrats couldn’t get Murkowski and Collins on board their bill supposedly codifying Roe, you know it’s radical.

Debate moderator Simons asked Kelly twice what limit he would place on abortions. The lawmaker would not say, other than pointing to Roe. All Roe said is that states could, but in no way had to place limits on abortion around the third trimester of the pregnancy.

 

Kelly also claimed that late-term abortions only happen when there is a “serious problem” in the pregnancy. However, in what perhaps was a Freudian slip, he added, “Often the child is wanted.” In other words, a serious problem with the baby or mother’s health is not always the reason a late-term abortion occurs.

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler looked into the matter and found late-term abortions are, in fact, rare in the U.S., with just 1.3 percent happening at 21 weeks or later. But he calculated that means at least 10,000 do occur per year “when medical technology makes it increasingly possible to save a premature infant.”

Most, but not all, occur because defects are detected in the baby or the mother faces severe health risks.

Kessler noted the Women’s Health Protection Act language allows abortions up to the time of birth when the “health” of the mother is at issue.

Critics say that is an exception that you can drive a Mack truck through, with factors like emotional, psychological or familial health cited as the reason for the late-term abortion.

Simons asked Masters at what point in the pregnancy he would want to see abortions made illegal.

“Last year Arizona passed a law that limits abortions after 15 weeks. I support that law,” Masters said. “That’s where Arizonans find a reasonable place to draw the line.”

“I support limits at the federal level too. Sen. Lindsey Graham has proposed a 15-week [ban] with the common exceptions, and I support that,” he added.

Graham’s bill makes exceptions allowing for late-term abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the life or “physical health” of the mother is at risk.

“I believe at a certain point everybody of good conscience knows at five months, six months — my gosh, seven months — that is a baby and we shouldn’t be killing babies for no reason when they can survive outside the womb and that’s not what [Kelly’s] legislation did,” Masters said.

Masters showed how it’s done: Republicans are not the radicals when it comes to abortion policy; Democrats are.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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