Utah independent Senate candidate Evan McMullin, who was endorsed by state Democrats last month, condemned the Supreme Court’s potential return of abortion to the states Tuesday after a leaked draft opinion previewed the decision.
“If Roe v. Wade is overturned,” McMullin wrote in a statement wherein he described himself a “pro-life Utahn,” “some states will immediately enact extreme laws – such as total bans on abortion, onerous limits on birth control, and criminalization of women in desperate situations.” Offering few specifics, McMullin said he “oppose[d] such laws.”
According to The New York Times, 13 states have “trigger laws” that would implement abortion bans upon a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“I will advocate for sensible legislation that improves support for women, children and families, safeguards access to health care, and establishes reasonable standards that prevent extremists from doing harm,” McMullin added.
McMullin’s campaign website offers no clues to why he describes himself “pro-life.”
The denunciation of returning state-level authority over abortion laws marks a sharp reversal from where McMullin stood on the 1973 landmark case six years ago when he mounted an independent presidential bid to thwart Donald Trump.
“Why can’t [Donald Trump] actually say the words “I want Roe v. Wade overturned?” McMullin wrote on Twitter the night of the third debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton. “I’m the only pro-life candidate in the race.”
Trump would later carve out a new standard for what it means to be a pro-life president over the course of his one term in office, becoming the first to personally attend the annual March for Life in Washington D.C.
If the Supreme Court overturns the nearly five-decade precedent of Roe v. Wade this summer, the decision would mark another signature accomplishment from Trump’s tenure where three successful nominations to the high bench culminated in a 6-3 conservative majority. McMullin, on the other hand, an instrument of Democrats and Lincoln Project Republicans to oust reliably conservative incumbent Sen. Mike Lee, is now deriding the termination of Roe v. Wade as a pathway to extremism.
Utah’s other Republican senator, Mitt Romney, has refused to make an endorsement in the race.