Michigan governor hopefuls clash over abortion rights

Oct 12, 2022, 10:44 PM | Updated: Oct 13, 2022, 6:33 pm
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, left, and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon make notes befo...

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, left, and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon make notes before a Michigan Governor debate, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022, at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapid, Mich. (Bryan Esler/Nexstar Media Group/WOOD-TV via AP)

(Bryan Esler/Nexstar Media Group/WOOD-TV via AP)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The candidates for governor of Michigan criticized each other’s positions on abortion Thursday, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer saying women’s “fundamental rights” are at risk and GOP challenger Tudor Dixon calling the Democrat’s support for abortion rights “extremely radical.”

Dixon is a former commentator for a conservative online program who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump. She has never held public office and is still working to introduce herself and her ideas to voters — some of whom she acknowledged were hearing from her directly for the first time during a debate Thursday night.

For months, Whitmer and fellow Democrats have been airing attack ads portraying the Republican as too extreme on the issue, noting Dixon’s opposition to the procedure even in cases of rape or incest. Those ads have largely gone unanswered as Dixon has struggled to raise money to compete with Whitmer’s multimillion-dollar campaign fund.

On Thursday, Dixon said she is “pro-life with exceptions for the life of the mother” and criticized Whitmer for not supporting limits on abortion.

Whitmer said she will continue fighting for abortion rights. She noted that prior to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the right to an abortion, she filed a lawsuit to block a dormant 1931 state ban on abortion from taking effect. When the Supreme Court ruled and ended the national right, Whitmer said, Dixon celebrated.

Abortion has been a particularly prominent issue in Michigan this year because voters in November also will decide whether to enshrine the right to the procedure in the state constitution.

Dixon, who has been endorsed by anti-abortion groups including Right to Life of Michigan, said that if elected governor, she will abide by the will of the voters on that ballot question.

“I will always respect the will of the voter,” she said, adding that she believes “in the right of the people to decide.”

Asked whether she will abide by the Nov. 8 vote on the ballot measure, Whitmer noted the court case she filed remains pending before Michigan courts, meaning the vote on the ballot measure may not be the final word.

She also scoffed at Dixon’s statement about respecting the will of voters, saying “this is a candidate who still denies the outcome of the 2020 election.”

Dixon said during the Republican primary that she believed the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, whose loss to Joe Biden in Michigan by some 154,000 votes was confirmed through multiple investigations and lawsuits.

“People in this country are allowed to question elections, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to accept the will of the people,” Dixon said when asked following the debate about her previous comments on the 2020 election.

The outcome of the November race will be significant beyond Michigan, a presidential election battleground. The winner will be in office for the 2024 contest, and could influence voting laws and how the election is conducted.

Dixon also criticized Whitmer for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying she was heavy handed in issuing lockdowns that hurt small businesses and the statewide economy and kept kids out of school. Whitmer shot back that Dixon promoted “conspiracy theories.”

“Had she been governor during the pandemic, thousands more people would have died,” Whitmer said.

“And what about our students, who she kept locked out of our schools and wouldn’t listen to parents when they begged her to let them play,” Dixon said. “She wouldn’t even listen.”

The two candidates are scheduled to debate again on Oct. 25 at Oakland University in Rochester.

___

Joey Cappelletti is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

___

Burnett reported from Chicago.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Today in History: November 27, Moscone and Milk fatally shot

Today in History Today is Sunday, Nov. 27, the 331st day of 2022. There are 34 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Nov. 27, 1978, San Francisco Mayor George Moscone (mah-SKOH’-nee) and City Supervisor Harvey Milk, a gay-rights activist, were shot to death inside City Hall by former supervisor Dan White. […]
22 hours ago
This undated photo provided on Nov. 27, 2022, by the North Korean government shows North Korean lea...
Associated Press

Kim’s daughter called ‘most beloved’ child in 2nd appearance

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s leader has taken his daughter to a meeting with missile scientists in her second public appearance, in which state media called her Kim Jong Un’s “most beloved” child, deepening outside debate over whether she is being primed as his successor. The daughter, believed to Kim’s second child named […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Shooting in Atlanta neighborhood kills 1 person, wounds 5

ATLANTA (AP) — A shooting in an Atlanta neighborhood Saturday evening killed one person and wounded five, police said. The Atlanta Police Department said several shots were fired during a dispute around 8 p.m. on the 17th Street bridge in Atlantic Station, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Police said the shooting occurred after a group of […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A lobster rears its claws after being caught off Spruce Head, Maine, Aug. 31, 2021. Environm...
Associated Press

Whole Foods decision to pull lobster divides enviros, pols

Environmental groups are at odds with politicians in New England in the wake of a decision by Whole Foods to stop selling Maine lobster.
22 hours ago
A crime scene is taped off at New Season Church in Nashville, Tenn., on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Me...
Associated Press

Drive-by shooting injures 2 at funeral at Nashville church

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A drive-by shooting in Nashville on Saturday injured two people as they and others were walking out of church from the funeral of a woman who was fatally shot earlier this month, according to police. Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said the afternoon shooting occurred outside New Season Church, […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Zion National Park near Springdale, Utah, is pictured on Sept. 15, 2015. A woman died and a ...
Associated Press

Woman dies on hike in Utah’s Zion Park, husband rescued

A woman died and a man was rescued after they were caught in extreme cold weather while hiking in Utah's Zion National Park.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Michigan governor hopefuls clash over abortion rights