- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2022

Stacey Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Georgia, has planted her flag in the debate over abortion, saying there is “no such thing” as a 6-week fetal heartbeat.

Ms. Abrams is challenging Gov. Brian Kemp in the fall election and is ramping up her criticism of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion a federal constitutional right.

“There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” Ms. Abrams said this week at an event in Atlanta in comments that raised eyebrows.

She dismissed heartbeat footage as “a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body.”

Long a pro-choice advocate, Ms. Abrams provided a firm reminder of how far apart she and Mr. Kemp are on abortion rights and restrictions.

The Republican National Committee tweeted out a clip of Ms. Abrams’ heartbeat quote with the words “REMINDER: Abrams supports NO LIMITS on abortion.”

Mr. Kemp signed legislation in 2019 barring most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and the law went into effect following this summer’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization upholding a Mississippi law.

Ms. Abrams remarks came on the same day the Atlanta Journal-Constitution released a survey showing Mr. Kemp held a 50% to 42% lead over her in the race.

The Democrat burst onto the scene as a voting-rights activist and came within 50,000 votes of defeating Mr. Kemp in the 2018 governor’s race, a stronger showing than expected in a state that had been Republican-dominated for a couple of decades.

The Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe has energized liberal activists and put some Republicans who declared themselves 100% pro-life in primary races on their heels in competitive general races across the country.

There also has been a spike in women registering to vote in some states, giving Democrats hope that the abortion issue could help shift attention away from concerns over the economy, inflation and crime.

But the jury is out on how the ruling will affect races in Georgia and elsewhere. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey found that just 5% of likely voters identified abortion as their top issue in the election.

At the same time, the survey showed roughly half of likely voters said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who wants to protect access to abortion.

The top issues for voters were: cost of living, 20%; threats to democracy, 17%; jobs and the economy, 16%; immigration, 14%; guns, 10%, crime, 7%; climate change, 6%; and abortion, 5%

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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