Arizona US Senate candidates clash over views on abortion in debate

Oct 6, 2022, 9:43 PM | Updated: Oct 7, 2022, 10:31 am
Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, left, talks with Libertarian candidate Marc Victor, middle, and...

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, left, talks with Libertarian candidate Marc Victor, middle, and Republican candidate Blake Masters, right, prior to a televised debate in Phoenix, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Arizona’s three candidates for U.S. Senator defended their stance on abortion and women’s rights on the debate stage Thursday evening.

The debate, which took place at Arizona State University’s Cronkite PBS Studio and was moderated by Ted Simons, had incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, Republican Blake Masters and Libertarian Marc Victor meet face-to-face on the stage for nearly an hour.

Masters, who previously had strong language regarding abortion on his website such as being “100% pro-life,” doubled-down on his stance, clarifying that to be pro-life means he has limits.

“I think at the federal level we should not be allowing late-term partial birth abortion all the way up until the moment of birth, except for, you know, to save the life of the mother,” Masters said. “I believe in limits. Mark Kelly doesn’t, and that’s the choice that Arizonans face in this issue.”

He added, “Just last year, Arizona passed a law that limits abortions after 15 weeks. I support that law, that’s where Arizonans find a reasonable place to draw the line. I support limits at the federal level, too.”

Masters went on to accuse Kelly of being an abortion radical for supporting late-term abortions.

“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 out of the womb. They said they were trying to codify Roe, no, it was so much more extreme than that. They wanted to impose legal abortion nationwide up until the moment of birth, and that is way too radical. That’s not what Arizonans want,” Masters said.

“Now, I support exceptions because I don’t believe in being extreme on this issue,” Masters said. “I’m going to represent the vast majority of Arizonans on this issue.”

In response, Kelly said he’s always been clear of his support for Roe vs. Wade, adding that he believes in the protections and restrictions that were allowed under the previous law.

“Abortion only happens very late in the pregnancy when there are serious issues and folks, it’s heartbreaking when this happens and often the child is wanted,” Kelly said.

The current senator said the overturning of Roe led to women losing their rights to make a decision, calling it devastating and wrong, and “exactly what my opponent Blake Masters wants.”

“He’s called abortion demonic, a religious sacrifice — I don’t even know what that means folks — but what I’m doing is I am protecting your constitutional rights that you have lost because of rhetoric like this,” Kelly said.

On answering where he crossed the line on late-term abortion, Kelly said he supports what was once the law of the land for 50 years.

Libertarian candidate Marc Victor said he’s anchored in principle as his views have been the same for 30 years.

“It doesn’t matter what my personal position is on abortion and I’m not going to tell you,” Victor said.

“We need a policy that recognizes that reasonable minds disagree on this issue. People disagree, there isn’t an objectively right answer and these politicians offer no special wisdom at all.”

Victor said Congress should stay out of abortion rulings and believes the issue should be turned over to local government.

“Abortion should never anywhere, under any circumstances, be outlawed in the case of rape or in the case of health of the mother,” Victor said.

“Regarding abortions after viability, if we can keep the baby alive, we should. It’s a win for the baby, it’s a win for the pregnant woman, it’s a win for the adoptive parents.”

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Arizona US Senate candidates clash over views on abortion in debate