Independent U.S. Senate candidate Evan McMullin’s shifting stance on Roe v. Wade’s landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion in all 50 states could become a potent weapon against him as he hopes to cut Republican support for incumbent Mike Lee in November.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, McMullin supported overthrowing Roe. Following last week’s explosive leak of a draft advisory to do just that, McMullin backed down, warning that the move would lead some states to pass extreme laws, including outright abortion bans.
McMullin attempted to thread the needle between those two positions during an interview with MSNBC’s Medhi Hasan on Sunday night.
“I’m committed to the sanctity of life, but I think it means women’s lives. It means the life of unborn children. I think we need to take a more comprehensive approach to this,” McMullin said.
The leak of the draft opinion, written by Judge Samuel Alito, has sparked a political storm. The reversal would take away a legal right granted to women for almost 50 years. Most Americans oppose the overthrow of Roe. A recent survey found that 54% of Americans say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe, while only 28% think it should be overturned.
McMullin’s chances of bringing down Lee depend on gaining support from independents, Democrats and Republicans who may seek an alternative to the two-term Republican. Utah Democrats chose not to nominate a candidate to give McMullin a better chance in November.
Lee, who worked for Alito, clearly sees overthrowing Roe as a political winner. He seized on the abortion issue to attack McMullin as a political opportunist.
“He’s not someone who has the interests of the American people or the Constitution at heart,” Lee said during an interview on Fox News Channel last week.
It was recently revealed that Lee was part of a plot to help former President Donald Trump stay in power after he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. Lee has two Republican challengers for the party’s nomination this year. Becky Edwards and Ally Isom are hoping to end her re-election bid in the three-way primary election on June 28.
Despite Roe’s reversal of McMullin, her staunchly anti-abortion stance remained consistent. He is anti-abortion and favors policies aimed at reducing unwanted pregnancies, a position that is not incompatible with his 2016 presidential campaign.
“I think the way forward is in data that shows very clearly that when we make long-term reversible contraception more available, the abortion rate goes down. We should be doing more to support the women, families and children. This is what is driving down the abortion rate in America,” McMullin said.
Overturning Roe would send the abortion decision back to the United States. Utah has a so-called “trigger law” on the books to ban abortion once Roe v. Wade is invalidated. But there is a movement among some Republicans to take the decision away from individual states by enacting a national abortion ban. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that a Republican-controlled Congress could pass such a ban.
McMullin said he would not support a total ban on abortion by Congress.
“If that’s the kind of ban that we see being proposed and passed across the country that would absolutely ban abortions, then I would be a no against that,” McMullin said.
McMullin’s campaign clarified his comment on Monday, saying he would not vote for a blanket abortion ban that did not include exceptions for rape and incest and to preserve the life of the mother.
“As a pro-life Utahn, I fear the endless tussle over abortion laws threatens to create a public health crisis and further divide the nation without resolving anything,” McMullin said in a statement to The Salt. Grandstand Lake.
Senator Lee’s office did not respond to emailed questions about whether he would support Congress in passing any kind of national abortion ban.