Masters previously supported a nationwide abortion ban, said Roe v. Wade was a “horrible decision,” and that allowing women the freedom to make their own reproductive health decisions was equivalent to “genocide.” Now, he claims he wants a ban on fewer than 1% of abortions.
Blake Masters on Thursday provided a perfect example of why most Americans hate politics, flip-flopping on his stance on abortion rights in spectacular fashion.
A former big tech executive-turned-Republican Senate nominee in Arizona, Masters spent much of the past year telling anyone who would listen that he thought Roe v. Wade was a “horrible decision” that “needs to be repealed,” that allowing women the freedom to make their own reproductive health decisions was equivalent to “genocide,” and that support of abortion rights was “demonic.”
Masters even went so far as to explicitly call for a federal personhood law that “recognizes that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed.” The proposed law would classify abortion as murder and criminalize all abortion, with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother—a position supported by only 8% of Americans. Such a law might even ban certain kinds of contraception.
But on Thursday, roughly three weeks after Masters won the Republican primary, he released a new ad completely contradicting his previous statements.
“I support a ban on very late-term and partial-birth abortion,” Masters said, embracing a favored Republican talking point. Late-term abortions are exceptionally rare, with 99% of all abortions taking place before 20 weeks.
Removing Former Statements
“I am 100% pro-life,” Masters’ website read for the past several months. On Thursday, that language was wiped from the site, as was a statement referencing his support for the federal personhood law.
The campaign also removed references to Masters’ prior support for several anti-abortion bills, a statement that he would only vote to confirm judges who believe that there is no constitutional right to abortion, and a promise to eliminate funding for stem cell research from his site.
After this overhaul, his website claims he supports a “law or a constitutional amendment that bans late-term (third trimester) abortion and partial-birth abortion at the federal level.” The website also states that he supports anti-abortion bills—but doesn’t specify what kinds—as well as crisis pregnancy centers, which are fake medical facilities designed to look like real health centers. These centers often try to scare and pressure women out of having abortions.
The Masters campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, who faces Masters in November, blasted the Republican politician’s flip-flopping.
“If Blake Masters thinks that he can quietly delete passages from his website and disguise just how out of touch and dangerous his abortion stance is, he’s in for a rude awakening,” Kelly campaign spokesperson Sarah Guggenheimer said in a statement. “Arizonans know the truth and won’t fall for this.”
New Ad, Same Lies
In his ad, Masters also lied about Kelly’s views, claiming that the senator—who supports abortion rights and whose views on abortion rights are in line with those of Arizona’s voters—supported abortion right up until birth, a lie that has already been debunked. In reality, Kelly supports a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade into federal law and prevent states from banning or criminalizing abortion at any stage when a woman’s life is at risk.
Masters’ incredible reversal underscores just how unpopular his previously-stated positions on abortion are. Majorities of Arizonans want abortion to be legal, opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, and want to elect lawmakers who support abortion rights.
A recent Courier Newsroom/Data for Progress poll of likely voters in Arizona found that 45% of Arizona voters would immediately rule out voting for a candidate who supported banning abortion in Arizona, while 19% would reconsider their vote.
Attempting to Pivot
Masters’ pivot on abortion rights isn’t the first time he’s tried to moderate his stances since becoming the Republican nominee for Senate. Prior to the Aug. 2 primary, Masters embraced the idea of privatizing social security.
“Maybe we should privatize social security, private retirement accounts,” Masters said during a primary debate. Such a move that could put benefits at risk and leave the economic security of more than 1 million Arizonans’ to the whims of the stock market.
After he won, however, he reversed himself and told the Arizona Republic that he doesn’t want to privatize Social Security.
Masters’ flip-flops come as polling has shown him trailing Kelly by an average of eight points. It remains to be seen if Masters—whose hardline positions on issues like immigration, controversial statements about Black people, and embrace of the racist “great replacement theory” that earned him an endorsement from a literal neo-Nazi—will walk back these stances or others that are unpopular.
Will Masters Cling to the Big Lie?
It’s also unclear whether Masters will rebuke his own extreme and reckless claims about American elections and voting rights.
Masters—who has received the vast majority of his campaign funds from a billionaire who once wrote that he “no longer believe[s] that freedom and democracy are compatible”—has repeatedly spread false claims that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, lied about widespread voter fraud, and embraced the conspiracy theory that the deadly attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6 might be a false flag operation set up by the FBI.
For now, Masters appears to be standing by those claims. Check back with us in two weeks, though.