GOP Governors Defend Complete Abortion Bans: ‘They Are Babies Too’

  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt defended his state’s move to ban abortion even in the cases of rape or incest.
  • “We don’t think killing one to protect another is the right thing to do …,” said Stitt, a Republican.
  • His comments underline the GOP’s broader move away from exceptions to abortion bans.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt on Sunday defended his state’s law that bans abortions at roughly six weeks without exceptions for rape or incest, arguing that other avenues exist for women who survive such brutal circumstances.

“I have daughters, I can’t even imagine what it would be like in that hardship,” Stitt told Shannon Bream on “Fox News Sunday.” “That is a human being inside the womb, and we’re gonna do everything we can to protect life and love both the mother and the child. And we don’t think killing one to protect another is the right thing to do either.”

Stitt’s position underlines how conservative states are increasingly moving beyond what some Republicans promised for decades. Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan, including former President Donald Trump, stressed that they supported exceptions to abortion bans in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother. But states like Oklahoma are ushering in abortion bans that lack some or all of those exceptions.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who co-chairs the Republican Governor’s Association, said that he supports bans without those exceptions too.

“I believe life begins at conception and those are babies too,” Ricketts told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “Here in Nebraska, we’re going to take further steps to protect those pre-born babies.”

Oklahoma is one of 13 states with a so-called trigger law, bans that would take effect as soon as the Supreme Court overturns federal abortion rights. A leaked draft Supreme Court decision obtained and published by Politico earlier this month indicated that a majority on the high court supported overturning its landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that said a federal right to privacy covered a right to an abortion.

Unlike Oklahoma, Nebraska does not have a trigger law on the books. It is expected to be one of the states where Republicans renew their anti-abortion advocacy if the Supreme Court overturns Roe later this summer. Despite being a predominantly conservative state, Nebraska, whose legislature is officially non-partisan, is effectively limited by a Democratic-led filibuster in the nation’s only single-house state legislature.

Democrats have sought to highlight the complete or near-complete nature of the bans states are passing and signing into law.

“To win this battle, it’s about the hearts and minds of women not the laws of men,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, told “Fox News Sunday.”

Polis extolled his state’s move to protect abortion rights. He declined to give a specific answer on whether Colorado law would allow someone to receive an abortion up to birth.

“People face gut-wrenching decisions every day, whether it’s rape or incest, or having to choose between the life of the mother or the child, for the government to insert itself in that conversation whether between a doctor and a woman between a faith leader and a woman is simply wrong.”

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