Republican Lisa Murkowski defends Roe v. Wade in Senate debate

Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski is not shying away from her support of abortion as she faces re-election.

The moderate, who is a top target of former President Trump, defended Roe v. Wade during a Senate debate on Thursday, saying she won’t support going “backward.”

Murkowski defends abortion

Murkowski is up for re-election on November 8 in a ranked choice contest against Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who is backed by Trump, and Democrat Pat Chesbro.

During the debate, Murkowski made clear that she supports codifying Roe, which was overturned by the Supreme Court this summer.

“I do support the codification of Roe v. Wade. I recognize that we cannot go backward in time 50 years when it comes to a woman’s right to determine her own reproductive health and health care,” Murkowski said.

Democrats have made codifying Roe a rallying cry ahead of the midterm elections, but Murkowski and another pro-abortion Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), have said that a Democrat bill to legalize abortion nationwide goes even further than Roe. 

Drawing a contrast with many Democrats who have avoided defining any abortion restrictions they support, Murkowski said that abortion “should not be without limitations.”

RINO for re-election?

Murkowski said that a bill she and Collins introduced would prevent federal funding of abortions and include conscience protections.

“I also recognize that abortion should not be without limitations,” Murkowski said. “So the bipartisan effort that I had introduced in the United States Senate is one that again codifies Roe but does so in ensuring that there are limitations.”

Tshibaka said she would support a national ban on abortion at some point in the second trimester. The Alaska GOP, which is backing Tshibaka, recently censured Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for supporting Murkowski.

Murkowski, whose father was once the governor of Alaska, is known as a moderate, or “RINO” to her detractors. She opposed Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court and voted to convict Donald Trump in his second impeachment.

Even if she wins re-election, Democrats won’t be able to codify Roe without killing the filibuster, which appears unlikely, especially if they lose the Senate.