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RNC chair says she personally opposes Alabama abortion law

POLITICO logo POLITICO 5/17/2019 By Katie Galioto
Ronna Romney posing for the camera: Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said she believes the Alabama abortion law should have exceptions for rape and incest. © Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said she believes the Alabama abortion law should have exceptions for rape and incest.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Friday said she personally opposes Alabama’s new abortion law, which would outlaw abortions at any point during pregnancy, even in cases of rape and incest.

“Personally, I would have the exceptions,” McDaniel said during an interview on CNN. “That's my personal belief. But we are a party that is a broad tent. If you agree with us 80 percent of the time, I want you to be a Republican. We don’t have a litmus test as to whether you can belong to our party.”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion measure, which passed easily through the state’s GOP-dominated legislature. The bill’s passage sets up a court fight Republicans hope will end with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade — a goal McDaniel said she supported.

“Roe V. Wade just didn't go far enough in saying: Where did the states get the right to determine governance on this issue?” McDaniel said.

McDaniel’s reservations about the details of the law echoed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who on Thursday said he thinks the Alabama law goes too far.

“I defend my pro-life position for my whole political career,” he told reporters during a news conference. “But in my whole political career, I also believed in rape, incest or life of the mother. There was exceptions.”

The Alabama measure does make an exception if a pregnancy poses a health risk to a mother. Under the law, doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion.

A number of other anti-abortion bills passed in red states have spurred concerns from abortion-rights advocates who worry that with the Supreme Court’s current makeup, justices may choose to topple Roe.

Neither McDaniel nor McCarthy indicated whether they want to see the Supreme Court strike down the Alabama law.

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