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Top GOP governor candidate: Mich. abortion ban should cover rape, incest

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon speaks to reporters in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Daniel Shular/Grand Rapids Press/AP)
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A leading Michigan gubernatorial candidate who said a child victim of rape and incest should carry her baby to full term is the latest Republican to express opposition to legislation that would allow abortions in such cases.

Tudor Dixon told interviewer Charlie LeDuff on his podcast, “No BS Newshour,” that procedures needed to save the “life of the mother” should be the only exception to abortion bans.

“Do you think you can win with that?” LeDuff asked. He dug in: “The question would be like, a 14-year-old who, let’s say, is a victim of abuse by an uncle, you’re saying carry that?”

Dixon responded, at times speaking over LeDuff: “Yeah, perfect example … okay … because I know people who are the product — a life is a life for me.”

During the interview, she also differentiated between the “health” and “life” of the mother.

Arizona is one of several Republican-controlled states that is pointing to a century-old law as the rationale to roll back access to abortions. (Video: Julie Yoon, Joshua Carroll/The Washington Post)

More Republicans push for abortion bans without rape, incest exceptions

A representative for Dixon did not respond to a Wednesday evening inquiry on whether she would like to elaborate on her comments. A spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Rodericka Applewhaite, said in a statement that the “callous remarks are the perfect example of how dangerous Tudor Dixon would be for Michigan families.”

Dixon holds a slight lead over other candidates for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, according to several recent polls. The Aug. 2 primary will decide which Republican will run against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in the November general election.

Before running for governor, Dixon worked in the steel industry and in conservative media. She founded a media company that “provided pro-America, pro-Constitution morning news programs to grade school students,” according to her campaign website. She took issue with Whitmer’s coronavirus containment policies, which she said spurred her to “take the fight to ‘Big Gretch’ directly” by running against her this year.

Whitmer is one of the leading Democratic voices for abortion rights. She sued to try to keep abortion legal in Michigan, in anticipation of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. A temporary injunction in a separate lawsuit has allowed the procedures to continue, though two Republican county prosecutors said they would consider pursuing criminal charges against doctors under a 1931 abortion ban, which contains no exceptions for rape or incest.

Gretchen Whitmer’s abortion fight — from the porch with her daughters

Dixon joins a cohort of Republicans who have, amid the fall of Roe, pushed for abortion bans without exceptions for fetuses conceived through rape or incest. Last month, on the day that the landmark ruling was struck down, Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said a hypothetical 12-year-old girl who was raped by a family member should carry the pregnancy to term.

“That is my personal belief,” he said. “I believe life begins at conception.”

He added: “Every life is valuable. And those are my personal beliefs.”