Despite complaining that Democratic attack ad had taken her comments on abortion out of context, Republican gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon seemed to confirm the ad’s point in a recent TV interview.
The ad by Put Michigan First, a group allied with the Democratic Governors Association, criticized Dixon’s stance on abortion as extreme, noting her support for a total ban on the procedure except in cases where the life of the mother was at stake.
In making that case, the ad featured a clip from a July interview with Detroit podcaster Charlie LeDuff in which he asked Dixon if a 14-year-old raped by her uncle should be forced to have the baby.
“Perfect example,” replied Dixon.
She later slammed the ad as distorting her position, saying it was taken out of context as part of her argument that eliminating parental consent abortion laws would make it harder to catch abusers.
However, when asked by FOX-2’s Roop Raj in an interview Friday about that comment, offering her a chance to clarify whether a 14-year-old rape victim should be allowed to get an abortion, Dixon again said she would oppose that.
“I’ve talked to those people who were the child of a rape victim and the bond that those two people made,” Dixon said. “And the fact that out of that tragedy, there was healing through that baby. It’s something that we don’t think about because we assume that that story is someone who was taken from the front yard then returned. That’s generally not the story there. And those voices, the babies of rape victims that have come forward, are very powerful when you hear their story and what the truth is behind that. It’s very hard to not stand up for those people.”
The interview went viral on social media and has been reported on by national media.
A 14 year old is a CHILD. A CHILD should not be forced to carry A CHILD from RAPE. Why do children’s lives – their future, hopes, dreams, aspirations – not matter!?
— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) August 20, 2022
“A 14 year old is a CHILD. A CHILD should not be forced to carry A CHILD from RAPE. Why do children’s lives – their future, hopes, dreams, aspirations – not matter!?” state Sen. Mallory McMorrow (D-Royal Oak) wrote on Twitter.
Dixon also reiterated her position that the only exception for abortion is if the life of the mother were in danger.
“I’ve made it very clear [that] health of the mother and life of the mother are two different things,” Dixon said. “Anytime the mother’s life is in danger. All of these fake stories about if you have an ectopic pregnancy, if you have any type of issue that’s not covered, it absolutely is. In fact, the existing law covers that.”
Dixon was referring to the 1931 Michigan law that states almost all abortions would be considered a felony with a possible penalty of up to four years in prison, with doctors who assist in the procedure and pregnant people who use medication for abortions could be charged.
That law was invalidated by Roe v. Wade, but never removed from the books. When the landmark Roe decision was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June, the law technically came back into effect, although it has been held off by an ongoing injunction pending a ruling on whether it is legal under Michigan’s Constitution. That injunction was kept in effect on Friday by order of an Oakland County Judge following a two day trial.
That request was made by Dixon’s November opponent, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who supports abortion rights.
However, Dixon’s assertion that ectopic pregnancies, in which a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus, cannot survive and is potentially fatal to the mother, would be covered by the 1931 law is up for debate.
Dr. Lisa Harris, an obstetrician-gynecologist and associate director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Michigan, is one of the expert medical witnesses who testified at the injunction hearing and was deemed to be “extremely credible” by the judge.
Harris told MLive in July that the law is so broadly written that it is not clear to doctors what procedures would be considered legal.
“They may not wish to treat an ectopic pregnancy if there is evidence of fetal cardiac activity,” said Dr. Harris. “Doctors’ judgment calls now have criminal penalties associated with them. And if someone thinks that a woman’s life was not quite in jeopardy enough, when someone ended that pregnancy, they could face criminal charges.”
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