Tudor Dixon, a leading Republican candidate for governor of Michigan, confirmed in a recent interview that her opposition to abortion rights extends even to a minor who is raped by a family member.
On an episode of Charlie LeDuff’s talk show, “The No BS Newshour,” that aired Friday, LeDuff pressed Dixon, a conservative commentator and former steel industry executive, on whether her support for a strict abortion ban would apply to the most extreme cases.
By way of example, LeDuff proposed the hypothetical case of a 14-year-old girl who becomes pregnant after her uncle rapes her.
“Yeah, perfect example,” Dixon interjected.
“You’re saying carry that?” LeDuff asked, finishing his question.
Dixon replied that she would expect that girl to carry the baby to term and that she only supports allowing an abortion when a mother’s life is in danger.
“I know people who are the product ― a life is a life for me. That’s how it is,” Dixon concluded.
The Michigan news outlet Heartland Signal first reported on the conversation on Wednesday morning, posting a video of the exchange that it pulled from the YouTube page of “The No BS Newshour.”
The Michigan Democratic Party immediately condemned Dixon’s remarks.
Dixon’s “callous remarks are the perfect example of how dangerous Tudor Dixon would be for Michigan families,” Michigan Democratic Party spokesperson Rodericka Applewhaite said in a statement to the media.
Dixon’s support for an abortion ban that includes only an exception for cases when a mother’s life is danger is consistent with Michigan’s 1931 law banning abortion.
The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, which made abortion a federal right, effectively overrode that old law.
But the high court’s June decision sending the issue of abortion rights back to the states would have triggered the 1931 ban had a Michigan judge not granted Planned Parenthood’s request for a temporary injunction blocking the law from taking effect on the grounds that it violates the state’s constitution.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), whom Dixon is challenging, has filed a second lawsuit challenging the restoration of the 1931 law in court.
Asked to clarify why Dixon thinks the case of a teenager who is raped is the “perfect example” of her belief that abortion should be illegal except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, Dixon provided HuffPost a statement affirming her anti-abortion views and accusing Whitmer of holding extreme views in the opposite direction.
“Not everyone agrees with me that every life has value and we should have the courage, as [University of Michigan football coach] Jim Harbaugh put it, to let unborn children be born,” Dixon said in a statement. “I know that. I’m not hiding from it.”
“In contrast, Gretchen Whitmer won’t say if she has ANY limits on abortion because she supports abortion on demand for all, including minors (without their parents knowing),” Dixon added. “She just vetoed tens of millions of dollars to help pregnant women from the state budget. That is not pro-choice. It’s anti-Life. Big difference.”
Whitmer indeed employed a line-item veto last week to prevent public state funding from going to “crisis” pregnancy centers championed by abortion opponents. The pregnancy centers ― reviled by abortion rights advocates ― often pair counseling designed to discourage abortions with some basic resources that pregnant women seek.
The centers “purport to offer comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion, but don’t, preying on women at a vulnerable time in their lives,” Whitmer spokesperson Bobby Leddy told the Detroit Free Press.
In addition, if Whitmer succeeds in stopping the 1931 law from taking effect, the state will continue to have a number of abortion restrictions still on the books. Those restrictions include requiring a minor to obtain consent from a parent to receive an abortion, and a prohibition on abortions after the point of fetal viability.
Whitmer, who revealed during a 2013 abortion rights fight in the state legislature that she had survived a rape as a teenager, is running for reelection on a platform of strong support for abortion rights.
“Thanks to the work we’ve done together, abortion remains legal in Michigan,” she tweeted on Monday. “We’re fighting every damn day to keep it that way.”
A public poll last week showed Dixon holding a narrow lead over her rival Republicans for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. She had 19% support, compared with 15% for businessman Kevin Rinke and 13% for chiropractor Garrett Soldano.
The winner of the Republican primary on Aug. 2 will face Whitmer in the general election in November.