Struggling in the polls, Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters is trying to erase his previous record of outright opposition to legal abortion. And other Republican candidates in key statewide races are also eschewing their previous hard-line positions.
On Thursday, Masters released a new video in which he accused Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of lying about his background on abortion. In the ad, Masters says he opposes late-term abortion — an extremely rare procedure, usually done to protect the health of the mother — and says “most people support common sense regulation,” without specifying what it should be. this regulation.
Masters himself has proposed extreme restrictions on abortion, including a federal law criminalizing the procedure as murder and banning certain forms of contraception.
After the May leak of a draft opinion that suggested the Supreme Court was going to overturn Roe v. Wade, Masters said he didn’t think leaving abortion policy up to the states went far enough.
“I think the 14th Amendment says you have a right to life, liberty and property,” he said at an event in Carefree, Ariz., according to HuffPost. “You can’t deprive someone of that without due process. It is hard to imagine a greater deprivation of due process than killing a young child before it has taken its first breath. So I think you need a federal personality law.”
A federal personhood law would provide full constitutional protection to fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses. As of Thursday morning, Masters’ campaign website also used the language of fetal personhood, writing, “I am 100% pro-life” and noting his support for “a federal personhood law (ideally a constitutional amendment) that recognizes that unborn babies are human beings. may not be killed.’
But later that day, according to NBC News, the site had been scrubbed of that language. In addition, the Masters campaign removed the line “Eliminate funding for any research using embryonic stem cells from discarded fetal remains” and deleted the pledge to “Strip taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood, all other abortionists, and any organization that promotes abortion.” .
In an interview earlier this month with the Arizona Republic, Masters said the personhood law would only ban late-term abortions and that he was “okay” with Arizona’s current abortion ban after 15 weeks. That’s in contrast to last year, when he said support for abortion rights had become “demonic” and likened the procedure to a “religious sacrifice.” Masters had once championed abortion rights from the standpoint of a “classic, extreme libertarian,” according to friends, and equated being “pro-choice” with being “pro-liberty.”
The hard pivot from the Masters comes as the poll shows her consistently trailing Kelly, often by double digits. It serves as another sign of the impact the Supreme Court’s removal of abortion rights could have on millions of Americans in November’s midterm elections. Earlier this month, voters in Kansas rejected an anti-abortion amendment by nearly 20 points, while voters in a special election in a New York district chose the Democrat who had built his campaign around the issue of reproductive rights.
Masters won the Republican nomination in Arizona after millions in funding from billionaire Peter Thiel. He has promoted the conspiracy theory that Democrats plan to win elections by “importing” immigrants to replace native-born voters. called the January 6, 2021 riot a “false flag operation,” claiming that “a third of the people outside the Capitol complex on January 6 were actual FBI agents hanging out.” and has blamed “Black people, frankly” for America’s “gun violence problem.”
Masters is not the only Republican Senate candidate who has refocused his campaign toward swing voters for the general election. Last month, Ohio Republican Senate candidate JD Vance told NBC News that it made sense to “let the states decide this issue” in relation to abortion. Vance has previously said he would like “abortion to be illegal nationwide,” argued for the need for rape and incest exemptions in abortion laws, and compared abortion to slavery.
In Pennsylvania, GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano has remained silent on abortion since winning the May primary. Shortly after taking office as a state senator in 2019, Mastriano introduced a bill that would have banned abortions after six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. In a primary debate this year, he said he would not allow exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother.