Pro-choice U.S. House Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) pulled no punches when putting her Republican opponent, Tom Barrett, on the spot after the Michigan State Senator scrubbed anti-abortion rhetoric from his website – demanding a direct answer as to where he stands on the sensitive and highly heated issue.
In a debate on WDIV Local 4‘s Flashpoint, Slotkin got straight to the point:
“I think we need to be clear about where you stand on rape, incest, and a D&C for people having miscarriages. This is people’s lives, this is a kitchen table issue, so I–I just – either be straight and just own your position, or don’t talk about it in such political terms,” the congreswoman said.
Host Devin Scillian followed up on the congresswoman’s question, pressing the flip-flopping state senator by asking, “If someone is raped by say an uncle, so you’ve got a case of rape and incest–do you believe that girl should take that child to term?”
“As I’ve said consistently from the beginning, I’m pro-life,” Barrett responded.
Ironically, that’s not what his campaign website says – at least not now anyway.
The Detroit News reported in late August that the GOP congressional nominee removed a section of the site where he said he would work to “protect life from conception.” On the now removed “Values “Section, Barrett wrote:
“I am a Christian and I believe our elected leaders have a responsibility to represent the values our faith teaches. Protecting individual rights includes protecting the unborn. Ashley and I have been involved in the pro-life movement our entire lives and as an elected leader, I will always work to protect life from conception.”
The state lawmaker also “softened” language confirming his staunch pro-life stance, including the removal of an endorsement from the anti-abortion group, Michigan Right to Life, Jezebel reported.
“The now-deleted anti-abortion statement was removed from Barrett’s site sometime between August 10 and August 22.”
The first version of the text on Barrett’s campaign website said:
“Senator Barrett has been a consistent pro-life legislator and is endorsed by Michigan Right to Life.”
“His opponent, is one of the most extreme votes in Congress, supporting expanding abortion in every category. Elissa Slotkin supports partial-birth abortion, taxpayer-funding of abortion, and taking away a parent’s right to know if their minor daughter seeks an abortion.”
It now reads:
“While Senator Barrett has been a consistent pro-life state legislator, Elissa Slotkin supports some of the most extreme abortion policies of anyone in Congress. She opposes any limits, right up until birth, wants taxpayers to pay for abortions, and wants to take away a parent’s right to know if their minor daughter seeks an abortion.”
“Slotkin even led the fight to get Google to prevent women from having access to crisis pregnancy centers in search results.”
When confronted by The Detroit News on the back-peddling, Sen. Barrett told reporters that he hadn’t changed his strict stance on abortion – asserting he still supports a near-total ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or both. Barrett also feigned ignorance by claiming to have no knowledge of who, how, or why his website was changed.
“I don’t watch my own website every day, so I don’t know,” Barrett said. “But I am sure we probably were updating things based upon the issues that were most salient right now, which are inflation, cost of living, crime, border security. Those are really the four pillars that are the leading issues that voters are most concerned with.”
— Susan J. Demas 🏔 (@sjdemas) August 28, 2022
State Senator Barrett’s thinly veiled attempts to hide his already disclosed persona fit in line with other GOP candidates, scrambling after voters in ruby-red Kansas pushed back on the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade – the 50-year settled law guaranteeing a woman’s constitutional right to abortion, handed down by SCOTUS in 1973 – and voted overwhelmingly in favor of codifying the protections in state law.
While he may have avoided the question for now, he certainly gave Michigan voters — and America — his answer loud and clear.
Watch the clip of the debate below.
Barrett won’t give direct yes or no, but reaffirms that he is “pro-life” and says life is “worthy of protection.” pic.twitter.com/9ehvLsRP1l
— Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn) September 25, 2022
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