Democratic candidates are refusing to define where they draw the line on abortion as Republicans face scrutiny for softening their abortion rhetoric in a post-Roe v. Wade landscape.
Refusals to define where Democrats stand on abortions allow Republicans to insist that their opponents support abortions without limits — a stance that many of these candidates have actually voted for through their support for the Women’s Health Protection Act.
“Democrats’ agenda of imposing abortion on demand until birth nationwide — including late-term abortions when unborn children feel excruciating pain, all paid for by taxpayers — is radical and out of step with 90% of the voters in this country,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, told The Daily Wire.
“For Republicans, running from this issue and leaving the field to their opponents and the media, who will fill in the blanks, is a sure-fire losing strategy,” she added. “It’s time to go on offense and expose the Democrats’ extremism. Challenge them to name a single limit on abortion at any point in pregnancy that they would support.”
In Texas, gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke refused to say whether he supported a single restriction on abortion — including gruesome partial birth abortion procedures. “I trust women and their doctors to make their decisions about their body, about their healthcare, and about their future,” he insisted.
AWFUL: @BetoORourke supports no limits on abortion, won’t even speak against partial birth abortion.
Let’s be clear what that means. He supports abortion until the time of birth, paid for by tax dollars. https://t.co/WfKBzWpmrD
— Jeanne F. Mancini (@jeannemfl) August 26, 2022
Tim Ryan similarly shrugged off the question in Ohio, saying he believed it should be up to the mother.
“Of course we don’t support abortion at the end of term, unless of course, there is extraordinary circumstance,” he said, before describing the late term abortion of a baby whose parents have already prepared a nursery.
“Tim Ryan is desperately trying to hide his radical position on taxpayer-funded late-term abortion because he knows his beliefs are too extreme for Ohio,” Republican Senate candidate JD Vance’s campaign told The Daily Wire on Wednesday.
“The idea that federal funding should go to kill a baby that’s 40 weeks old is acceptable in just two places: China and North Korea,” the Ohio candidate’s campaign added. “That’s the policy Tim Ryan supports, it’s the policy he has voted for. We’re going to make sure that Ohioans are aware of those positions, and they’re going to soundly reject that insanity come November.”
Watch as Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan squirms when pressed over his support for abortion right up to moment of birth. pic.twitter.com/3woHwOjflX
— MRCTV (@mrctv) August 30, 2022
In Pennsylvania, John Fetterman admitted he did not believe there should be any limits on abortion. “I don’t believe so, no,” he said — comments which Dr. Mehmet Oz’s campaign manager Brittany Yanick told The Daily Wire are “extremely radical.” Fetterman did not respond to requests for comment.
Strong support for unlimited abortion has increasingly become a litmus test for Democratic politicians (during the most recent presidential election cycle, then Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders insisted that “being pro-choice is an essential part” of being a Democrat).
Pressure for Democratic candidates to fully support abortion was so strong during the election cycle that President Joe Biden abandoned his former support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funding for abortions, after strong backlash from pro-abortion groups, left-wing activists, and his fellow candidates — including his now vice president.
This leaves Democratic candidates in a quandary: they face an increasingly ideological party demanding adherence to its abortion stances and an American public largely opposed to such radical measures.
And rather than admit that they agree with the party line, many candidates (including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris) have opted to avoid addressing specifics on abortion restrictions, as March for Life President Jeanne Mancini pointed out to The Daily Wire on Wednesday.
“Radical pro-abortion Democrats refuse to admit where they draw the line on abortion because they support an agenda of abortion on demand, up until birth, and paid for by taxpayers, which is wildly out of touch with 71% of Americans,” Mancini said.
“Women and children deserve better than the tragedy of abortion,” she added, “and elected representatives should take seriously their duty to represent and protect all their constituents, including the most vulnerable.”
"Are there any limits on abortion you would find appropriate?"
John Fetterman: “I don’t believe so, no." pic.twitter.com/WaYJke2I2J
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 26, 2022
Meanwhile, GOP candidates are facing criticism for softening their hardline primary abortion rhetoric heading into the midterms. Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters removed the language “I am 100% pro-life” from his website, Axios reported, while candidates in Michigan, North Carolina, and Colorado all edited abortion language on their websites as well.
One of the top pro-life groups, the Susan B. Anthony List, was quick to stand by Masters, saying that he “rightfully centered his position on what is achievable now at the federal level: a limit on abortions at a point by which the unborn child can feel excruciating pain.”
Masters’ campaign told The Daily Wire that his website was updated to “draw a sharp contrast with Mark Kelly’s radical left-wing views on a number of issues.” That includes “Kelly’s support for extreme no-limits abortion policies,” Communications Director Zachery Henry said.
“Blake is 100% pro-life,” Henry emphasized on Wednesday. “That hasn’t changed.”
Mark Kelly is lying about my views on abortion — the Democrats have to do that because their own position (no limits of any kind, ever) is so extreme. Here’s the truth. pic.twitter.com/O2kqR9UcAB
— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) August 25, 2022
Vance’s campaign website still promises that he is “100 percent pro-life” and believes that “abortion has turned our society into a place where we see children as an inconvenience to be thrown away rather than a blessing to be nurtured.”
“Eliminating abortion is first and foremost about protecting the unborn, but it’s also about making our society more pro-child and pro-family,” the candidate’s website says, praising the historic Supreme Court decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization as one that “puts this new era of society into motion, one that prioritizes family and the sanctity of all life.”
Ryan, who has refused to say where he draws the line on abortion while accusing Vance of being a radical, also claims he is uninterested in “culture wars.” But video footage obtained by The Daily Wire suggests that Ryan is a staunch progressive who has been avoiding discussing the “culture wars” on the campaign trail because these issues “don’t serve us very well in Ohio.”
During a March private Zoom meeting, he admitted that he will continue to vote with his progressive Democratic peers on abortion, LGBTQ and trans issues, and that he is winning former Republican voters by “keeping the message very much around economics” and “staying away from the culture wars, which don’t serve us very well in Ohio.”
“Will you be the advocate that we need on abortion rights, the advocate that we need on trans people’s human dignity and their human rights and on gay rights?” a viewer asked him.
Ryan responded by assuring the woman that he gave a floor speech mere days before on the Women’s Health Protection Act, noting that he heavily supported and voted for the legislation (which would codify a right to an abortion nationwide).
“I’ve been very vocal on these other issues that you mentioned,” he continued. “So you can count on me to be in the fight … I’m progressive. I’m going to vote that way. I’m going to support you in every way, shape, or form … You can count on me.”