Dr. Oz says abortion should be between women, doctors and… local politicians

Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, said Tuesday that discussions of abortion access should be left to women, doctors and “local political leaders.”

Oz made the comments during his first and only debate against his Democratic rival John Fetterman, who is the state’s lieutenant governor.

“There should be no federal government involvement in how states make their abortion decisions,” Oz said Tuesday. “As a doctor, I’ve been in the room when there are difficult conversations. I don’t want the federal government to get involved at all.

He added, “I want women, doctors, local political leaders, leaving the democracy that has always allowed our nation to thrive, coming up with the best ideas for states to decide for themselves.”

The comment sparked dismay from health care groups, which have long argued that such decisions should be kept between patients and their doctors.

Oz has walked a fine line with his anti-abortion stance throughout the campaign in hopes of appealing to moderate Pennsylvanians. However, an audio leak from earlier this year sparked controversy after the Oz recording said abortion at any stage of pregnancy was “always murder”.

The doctor has since said there should be no criminal penalties for doctors or women around abortion, and his campaign added that he supports exceptions for victims of rape or incest, or if the mother’s health is in danger.

A moderator asked Oz to elaborate, wondering how he would vote on the national abortion ban proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) and other Republicans. This bill would ban the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the most dramatic effort yet after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade in June.

Oz hinted that he would vote no, although he went on to say that a local law prohibiting abortion in the same way would be acceptable. Abortion in Pennsylvania is currently legal up to 24 weeks.

“Any bill that violates what I said that the feds are interfering with the state abortion rule, I would vote against,” Oz said. “What’s important to me is that women in Pennsylvania understand what I’m saying.”

Fetterman, who has regularly lambasted Oz for its stance on abortion rights, said he believes the procedure is a “universal right for all women in America.”

“I believe abortion is health care, and I believe it’s a choice that is up to every woman and her doctor,” he said during Tuesday’s debate.


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