Republican candidate JD Vance described a pregnancy following rape or incest as “inconvenient” during an interview where he came out in support of the Texas abortion law.
The Senate hopeful from Ohio, and author of Hillbilly Elegy, was asked by Spectrum News this week if women should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term if it was the result of rape or incest.
“The question betrays a certain presumption that’s wrong,” Mr Vance said.
“It’s not whether a woman should be forced to bring a child to term, it’s whether a child should be allowed to live, even though the circumstances of that child’s birth are somehow inconvenient or a problem to the society,” he added.
“The question to me is really about the baby. We want women to have opportunities, we want women to have choices, but, above all, we want women and young boys in the womb to have a right to life.”
The question was prompted by the new, restrictive abortion law in Texas that bans the procedure after six weeks, at a time when most women don’t know they’re pregnant. The law is likely to stop up to 90 per cent of abortions and doesn’t make exceptions for rape or incest.
Mr Vance defended the law, saying that “in Texas, they’re trying to make it easier for babies to be born”.
He added that “the fundamental problem with abortion law in this country” is that it is “unsustainable and unstable”.
Increasingly restrictive abortion laws have been passed in Ohio over the last ten years. A 2019 Ohio bill would have banned abortions after six weeks but a stay was ordered by a federal judge. The current state law bans abortion after 20 weeks with the only exception being a risk to the health of the mother.
Mr Vance’s press secretary Taylor Van Kirk told The Daily Beast that the characterization of the candidate’s statements was inaccurate.
“Nowhere in the interview cited does JD actually say what The Daily Beast is dishonestly claiming he said. The transcript of the interview bears this out as that phrase is never uttered and JD even rejects the entire premise of the question he was asked by the interviewer,” a statement said.
“The Daily Beast’s pathetic attempt to put words in his mouth shows that they’ve traded in any semblance of journalistic integrity to be full-on leftwing political activists.”
Republican candidate Josh Mandel is leading Mr Vance in polling ahead of the Republican primary scheduled for 3 May, 2022 after Senator Rob Portman announced his retirement. The 2022 Midterms will be held on 8 November.
Both Mr Mandel, a former Ohio state representative, and former Republican state party chair Jane Timken, who is also running against Mr Vance, backed the 2019 Ohio abortion law.
The Republican hopefuls are jostling for the support of pro-Trump voters, which has prompted criticism of Mr Vance who previously lambasted the former president for his ideology and character.
Mr Vance was asked by Spectrum News about his newfound support for Mr Trump.
“It’s not about rhetoric, it’s not about what somebody says or doesn’t say, it’s about what they do,” he said.
The Independent has reached out to the Vance campaign for comment.
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