Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the state’s open Senate seat, released an ad on Tuesday contrasting his statements defending legal abortion access for women with those of his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, calling the procedure “murder.”
Fetterman’s video came after audio of comments Oz made about abortion during a virtual town hall in May came to light. Oz said in response to a question from a caller about his stance on abortion that he believes life begins at conception and that he has said that “multiple times.”
“If life starts at conception, why do you care what stage our heart starts beating at? It’s, you know, it’s still murder if you were to terminate a child whether their heart’s beating or not,” Oz said.
Fetterman’s ad features the audio of Oz interspersed with comments Fetterman has made promising to support Roe v. Wade, which protected a federal right to abortion before the Supreme Court overturned the decision in June.
The ad also shows Oz saying in interviews that Roe was decided wrongly and that the issue of abortion access should be left to the states to decide. Fetterman says in the video that he would support abolishing the filibuster in the Senate for the purpose of codifying Roe into law and that he would consider a potential Supreme Court nominee’s stance on Roe to be part of his litmus test for deciding whether they would receive his support.
Fetterman said in a release that women should not believe Oz’s claim at a press conference on Tuesday that he does not support criminalizing abortion for patients or doctors.
A spokesperson for Oz’s campaign said in response to the audio that Oz is “pro-life” but supports exceptions for instances of rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother.
Fetterman said in the release that Oz has said on multiple occasions that the only exception to abortion restrictions that he supports is to protect the mother’s life.