While many Republican lawmakers are shying away from talking about banning abortion outright, Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters is embracing it.
The issue has jumped to the front of the political debate since the emergence of a leaked Supreme Court draft written by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe v. Wade and take away the federal guarantee of abortion rights.
Three days after Politico published the draft, Masters said that the Roe decision was “absolutely horrible” and noted that the Constitution “does not mention abortion.”
He said that “at a minimum,” abortion should be left up to the states. But, he added, “I actually think we should go further than that though.”
“I think the 14th Amendment says you have the right to life, liberty and property,” he said at an event in Carefree, Arizona. “You can’t deprive someone with that without due process. Hard to imagine a bigger deprivation of due process than killing a small child before they have a chance to take their first breath. So I think you do need a federal personhood law.”
A federal personhood law would classify fertilized eggs, zygotes, embryos, and fetuses as persons and give them full constitutional protections. It would criminalize all abortion, with no exceptions, and may also ban some forms of contraception.
Masters was outspoken about his opposition to abortion even before the Supreme Court leak.
On Jan. 27, speaking in Gilbert, Arizona, Masters chided his fellow Republicans who won’t back a national abortion ban.
“What good is actually winning elections if you don’t do what you promised to do when you get in?” he said.
He added that simply saying “return the issue to the states” was “playing defense.”
“I don’t think it’s enough to return it to the states,” he added.
In 2021, he also called on Congress to pass a personhood law and said support for abortion rights has become “demonic” and likened it to “religious sacrifice.”
“Lastly, you see how the abortion thing has turned into this religious totem for the left, right? In the 90s, they promised they just wanted abortion to be safe, legal, and rare. And now it’s like you have activists wearing their shirts, you know with tally marks on how many abortions they’ve had,” he claimed. “And this is the cultural thrust of it. It’s a religious sacrifice to these people. I think it’s demonic. And I think we’ve got to put a stop to it.”
Masters’ outspoken support for a national abortion ban stands in contrast to the reaction in the Senate, where Republicans have been much quieter about the issue.
Oklahoma Republican Jim Lankford has been one of the few vocal proponents of a national ban, but he acknowledged last week that there might not be enough support in the Senate right now.
Democrats have been warning supporters about the threat to abortion not only from the Supreme Court, but from a potential Republican majority in Congress if the GOP prevails in retaking the House and Senate in November’s elections. Republicans, including the campaign committee dedicated to retaking the Senate, have downplayed abortion, saying issues like inflation will be a much bigger concern.
In Nevada, for example, GOP Senate candidate Adam Laxalt said overturning Roe would be “an historic victory for the sanctity of life.” Yet he is running in a state with strong support for abortion rights and laws that guarantee a right to abortion. And in an acknowledgment of that fact, Laxalt did not go so far as to call for a national ban.
“The people of Nevada have already voted to make abortion rights legal in our state, and so no matter the Court’s ultimate decision on Roe, it is currently settled law in our state,” he said in a statement.
On Saturday, the Arizona Mirror published a story noting that on his campaign website, Masters also promises that as a senator, he will vote for judges “who understand that Roe and Griswold and Casey were wrongly decided, and that there is no constitutional right to abortion.”
The cases of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey both upheld access to abortion. But the 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut protected a married couple’s right to purchase and use contraception.
Masters lashed out at the reporter on Twitter Sunday, saying he does not believe contraception should be outlawed ― even though overturning Griswold would remove that protection. He is also now threatening to sue the Arizona Mirror.
His campaign did not return a request for comment for this piece.
Masters is running in the competitive Aug. 2 primary to take on Sen. Mark Kelly (D) in the fall. Other candidates include state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, solar energy executive Jim Lamon and retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire.
Brnovich put out a statement after the Supreme Court leak saying “we will get to work in AZ and across the country to protect life.” Lamon called the Alito draft a “victory.”
Masters has the strong support of Peter Thiel ― the tech billionaire who is a strong ally of former President Donald Trump ― having previously worked for him as a close aide. Trump has not yet endorsed in the race, although he’s shown support for Masters.