Where Georgia candidates stand on abortion
In the days following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, abortion has been thrust to the center stage of Georgia politics.
What's happening: Candidates on both ends of the spectrum are being pressed: Do anti-abortion candidates support any exceptions for abortion access? Do abortion-rights candidates support any government restriction on abortion access?
The intrigue: "With the protections of Roe gone, the midterm elections in Georgia have become a referendum on reproductive freedom," said Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.), chair of the Georgia Democratic Party, in a news conference Monday.
Axios Atlanta has compiled the top candidates' positions on the questions:
Herschel Walker (R): Walker has said he supports a total ban on abortion, without exception. "There's no exception in my mind," Walker said in June, as reported by The Hill. "Like I say, I believe in life. I believe in life."
- On Friday, Walker applauded the Roe v. Wade decision, saying "I won't apologize for erring on the side of life, especially considering the radical abortion views held by Sen. Warnock and today’s Democrat Party."
Yes, but: In his October debate with Warnock, Walker backtracked, saying he supports Georgia's six-week abortion ban, which does include exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.
- He also has said he would support Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)'s proposed 15-week federal abortion ban.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D): In a statement, Warnock's communications director Meredith Brasher said Warnock "believes that women should be able to make their own health care decisions with their doctors — not politicians."
- "Georgia voters will have a clear choice this fall between Reverend Warnock's record of fighting to protect women's rights, and Herschel Walker's support for making abortion illegal with no exceptions — even in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is at risk," she said.
Gov. Brian Kemp (R): In 2018 Kemp stated his own position as a complete ban on abortion, save for an exception in the case of threatening the life of a mother.
- But more recently when asked whether he supports a total ban, Kemp answered he’s focused on the legal battle over the state’s existing six-week ban. Plus, he pointed out, the legislature was already divided on that law, in that it only passed the General Assembly with one vote.
Stacey Abrams (D): Abrams has said her position on abortion changed slowly, from being anti-abortion, to her current abortion-rights stance.
- When asked over the weekend if she supports any government restriction on abortion, Abrams responded that it is "a medical decision. And the medical decisions that have to be made have to be made in context...the reality is abortion and reproductive care is personal and it is singular and it should be made between a woman and her doctor."
- When pressed whether that meant she supported late-term abortions, Abrams said, "That's not what I said. I said this is a medical decision."
State Sen. Burt Jones (R): In a pre-primary debate Jones said he would support an outright ban on abortion. But according to a new statement from campaign spokesman Stephen Lawson, Jones, who voted for the state’s six-week abortion ban, supports exceptions for abortion access in the cases of rape, incest, and the health and well-being of the mother.
- “Sen. Jones supports protecting all life — especially the most vulnerable among us. He also wants to ensure women make informed decisions about their health care with their family, doctors and spiritual advisers — and supports exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and the health and well-being of the mother," Lawson said.
Charlie Bailey (D): Bailey has said that if elected he "will fight to codify in state law the protections provided for in Roe v. Wade and do everything in my power to protect the right of women to make their own health care decisions."
- Roe v. Wade protected a woman's right to an abortion prior to the viability of the fetus, or during the first trimester. During the second and third trimesters, states were able to restrict abortion access except in cases involving the life/health of the mother.
Attorney General Chris Carr (R): Carr, who in his capacity as attorney general has been defending the state's anti-abortion law in court, in a statement to Axios said his "personal belief is that abortion should be prohibited in Georgia except when the life of the mother is at risk. I also will continue to uphold my oath of office as Attorney General of Georgia by defending the laws of our state, including the Georgia LIFE Act."
State Sen. Jen Jordan (D): Jordan told Axios she supports the policy originally set by Roe v. Wade, with a first trimester right to an abortion protected. "I believe this framework is appropriate and should remain the law of the land with appropriate exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomalies, and the life of the mother," she said.
- Jordan said in a news conference Monday that, if elected, she would not dedicate any resources to enforcing Georgia's anti-abortion law, should it remain as is. She argues it is unconstitutional.
Editor's note: This story was updated October 26 to include Herschel Walker's additional comments about his abortion stance.
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