Tiffany Smiley: GOP Senate candidate in Washington says she supports state law guaranteeing abortion until fetal viability

“Yes,” Tiffany Smiley told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked if she supported a measure passed by her state in 1991 that declared a woman’s right to abort before the fetus is deemed viable. “I respect the voters of Washington State. They have long since decided their position on the matter.”
Smiley, who challenges longtime Democratic Senator Patty Murray, has previously touted her “pro-life” views while stating her opposition to a federal ban on abortion – a stance she reiterated in her interview with Bash. But his comments Sunday come after other Republicans trying to deflect attacks on a key social issue that could cost them votes in November.
After the United States Supreme Court ruled in June that there was no longer a constitutional right to abortion, overturning a precedent of nearly 50 years, Republican candidates struggled to figure out how to hold back the conservative voters while appealing to the country’s large majority who support abortion. rights.

Some Republican candidates have tried to avoid the issue, instead focusing on appealing to Americans unhappy with rising consumer costs and crime. But Smiley and some other GOP candidates have taken a different approach by also trying to diminish a potentially potent motivational problem for Democrats.

Washington law provides exceptions in cases where the procedure would protect the life or health of the patient. And in March, the state legislature changed language in the law to ensure people have access to reproductive rights, including abortion, regardless of their gender identity, allowing the law to apply. to transgender and non-binary people.

The state also requires state-regulated health plans, including student plans, to cover abortion services if they also cover pregnancy services.

“I look forward to ensuring that women have access to health care, to contraception, that in times of crisis here in Washington State, that they have all the resources they need to make the best choice,” Smiley told Bash.

In an ad last month, Smiley spoke about his views on abortion, while also taking aim at Murray, a Democratic Senate executive who is seeking a sixth term in office this fall.

“Patty Murray has spent millions portraying me as an extremist,” Smiley says in the ad. “I’m pro-life, but I oppose a federal ban on abortion.”

“Patty Murray wants to scare you,” she adds at the end of the spot. “I want to serve you.”

As Democrats face a tough midterm environment as the ruling party in DC and low approval ratings for President Joe Biden, Murray is the favorite in his race in a state that voted for. the last time for a Republican in the Senate was in 1994. Murray and Smiley advanced to the general election last month after finishing in the top two in the state’s open primary.

Since her election to the Senate in 1992, Murray has comfortably won re-election, except during the GOP’s “red wave” of 2010, when she defeated Republican Dino Rossi by less than 5 points. Murray also holds a strong fundraising advantage over Smiley this cycle, with his campaign reporting a war chest of $6.7 million as of July 13, compared to Smiley’s $2.3 million.

In a separate “State of the Union” interview on Sunday, Murray did not directly respond to a question from Bash about whether she supports any abortion restrictions, saying instead that she doesn’t “believe politicians should make these decisions for women. That’s what I support.”

CNN’s Alex Rogers and Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.