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GOP Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters supports an Arizona law that, after 15 weeks of pregnancy, bans most abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
The law allows abortions for any reason through 15 weeks.
In an Arizona toss-up race that could determine which political party controls the U.S. Senate, a TV ad brands Republican candidate Blake Masters as an extremist on abortion.
Masters opposes abortion "even in the case of rape and incest," says the ad.
The ad features a speaker identified as Hillary, a U.S. Army veteran from Phoenix.
"My husband and I both served; he gave his life fighting for our freedom," she says. "It’s offensive to see someone like Blake Masters talking about taking away our rights."
The ad shows two clips of Masters. "Absolutely no abortions," he says in one. "You make it illegal, you punish the doctors," he says in the other.
Hillary continues: "No abortions, even in the case of rape and incest. That kind of extremism and government control is the opposite of what we fought for. It’s un-American. Blake Masters is wrong for Arizona and he’s wrong for America."
The characterization of Masters’ abortion position is mostly on target, based on Masters’ record and statements.
Masters has supported a bill introduced Sept. 13 by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that would impose a nationwide ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That bill includes exceptions for rape and incest, though it would allow states to enact abortion laws that are more restrictive.
Masters also supports measures more restrictive than Graham’s federal bill.
Before his primary victory Aug. 3, Masters repeatedly stated support for a federal "personhood" law, which is often viewed as a complete or nearly complete ban on abortion, without exceptions. He has been vague, though, about at what point during a pregnancy such a law would apply.
And Masters supports a new Arizona law which will ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Senate Majority PAC cited to PolitiFact those measures to PolitiFact to back up the ad’s claims.
Before the August primary, Masters said on his campaign website that he would "support a federal personhood law, ideally a constitutional amendment, that recognizes that unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed."
That language was scrubbed from the site Aug. 25, NBC News reported.
Masters softened his position after winning the nomination, saying he would back a personhood law that would ban abortion nationally during the third trimester of pregnancy, which begins with the 27th week.
However, Masters has also said his shifts did not mean he was abandoning prior positions.
"It’s funny, because you change one thing about the website and the media pounces. … I tweak my stump speech week over week, too, but no, I don’t run from or hide from anything I’ve said," he told Arizona radio station KTAR on Sept. 8.
"If we change something from time to time, that just reflects a new way that we’re talking about something, but it’s not a backtrack or anything like that."
Masters’ campaign website states that he believes Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision guaranteeing abortion rights nationally, was a bad decision. (The court overturned Roe on June 24.)
The site also said Masters supports abortion laws being decided by states. "I am hopeful we'll soon see a slate of new laws that respect and promote life — the lives of both the mother and the child," the site says.
Arizona is attempting to enact much stricter abortion laws or even a ban, using either an old law or the new one.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office asked a court to allow a 1901 law that bans abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest, to take effect. A ruling is expected after Sept. 20.
Meanwhile, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law that will take effect Sept. 24 that criminalizes performing an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The governor says the law he signed would supersede the 1901 law, but the state’s Republican attorney general, Mark Brnovich, has said the 1901 law is enforceable.
Asked to respond to the ad, Masters campaign spokesperson Katie Miller pointed us to an Aug. 16 article from Phoenix TV station KPNX. It said a proposed federal personhood law that Masters supports, which bans abortion in the third trimester, does not have a rape and incest exception.
Miller noted that Arizona’s new law allows abortion for any reason through 15 weeks. She also argued that Masters has always supported rape and incest exceptions, but cited no statements from him to support this.
In Arizona, 94.8% of abortions performed in 2019 were done at 15 weeks of gestation or earlier, according to the latest figures from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationally, the figure was 95.7%.
VoteVets and the Democratic Senate Majority PAC said Masters opposes abortion "even in the case of rape and incest."
Masters supports an Arizona law, set to take effect Sept. 24, that allows abortion for any reason through 15 weeks of pregnancy but bans abortion after that, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
He also supports a federal personhood law, which is generally viewed as complete or nearly complete ban on abortion.
We found no statements from Masters of support for rape and incest exceptions.
We rate the statement Mostly True.
RELATED: Fact-checks on abortion
YouTube, Senate Majority PAC "AZ - Hillary Rights and Freedoms" post, Sept. 12, 2022
Email, Senate Majority PAC spokesperson Veronica Yoo, Sept. 13, 2022
Email, Blake Masters campaign spokesperson Katie Miller, Sept. 14, 2022
KTAR News, "Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters still thinks President Joe Biden wasn’t fairly elected," Sept. 8, 2022
NBC News, "Democrats launch new abortion ad in Arizona Senate race," Sept. 13, 2022
New York Times, "Tracking the States Where Abortion Is Now Banned," Sept. 9, 2022
Associated Press, "Arizona judge weighs state request to enforce abortion ban," Aug. 20, 2022
Axios, "Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signs 15-week abortion ban into law," March 30, 2022
BlakeMasters.com, "Protect babies, don’t let them be killed," accessed Sept. 13, 2022
12News.com, "Verify: Where does Blake Masters stand on abortion?", Aug. 16, 2022
ABC News, "Graham's proposed near-total national abortion ban quickly meets GOP resistance," Sept. 13, 2022
CBS News, "GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham proposes nationwide 15-week abortion ban," Sept. 13, 2022
Washington Post, "Graham introduces bill to ban abortions nationwide after 15 weeks," Sept. 13, 2022
Twitter, Hannah Knowles tweet, Sept. 13, 2022
Sen. Lindsey Graham, bill amending Title 18, Sept. 13, 2022
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2019," Nov. 26, 2021
PolitiFact, "Blake Masters still supports a national abortion ban, but during the third trimester," Aug. 26, 2022
PolitiFact, "In Virginia, 97.5% of abortions occur 15 weeks into pregnancy or sooner," July 12, 2022
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