The Associated Press called out Republican Zach Nunn, who is challenging Democrat Congresswoman Cindy Axne in Iowa’s Third District, for allegedly “backtracking” on his stance on abortion.
It seems silly to “debate” something like this when we can literally “check the tape.” But I want to say one thing before I get started…
I believe in 2019, the first year I covered politics on a full-time basis at the Capitol, I witnessed something take place on the floor of the chamber involving a Republican and pink shirts (Planned Parenthood activists) — a conversation.
The conversation involved — Zach Nunn. Nunn was sitting amidst the pink shirts and listening to them.
I’ll never forget that because it simply wasn’t something I expected to see.
At issue in this debate is the Democrats — and the AP — calling out Nunn for saying he thinks all abortions should be illegal with no exceptions. Here is that initial exchange:
Now, to be clear, the question is should all abortions be illegal in the country.
Not to be political, but if you look at the phrasing of the question — it wasn’t would you support a law that bans all abortions. It was “in your mind should all abortions be illegal in the country.”
So even though someone says yes to that, there is definite wiggle room there if we’re being honest. Heck, Democrats used to say they’re “personally pro-life” but don’t believe they can make laws against abortion. “Personally pro-life” and “in your mind should” seem to be similar points of reference.
That isn’t the explanation Nunn gave, though, when the Associated Press asked him why he raised his hand. Instead, Nunn reportedly said he “misstated” the question as whether he supports life instead of the actual wording.
This, too, is feasible because if you watch the clip Nunn looks genuinely confused as the moderator asks the question. But it’s less feasible when you realize Nunn received the clarification he sought.
Nonetheless, Nunn was asked if there is a role for Congress in determining the life issue a few minutes later. Here is what he said:
Nunn believes the issue belongs with the states, not the federal government.
This response can be consistent from someone who raised their hand saying all abortions should be illegal in the country without exceptions.
Nunn wasn’t asked if he would push for an abortion ban in all instances without exception, only whether he thought killing an unborn baby should be illegal.
Nunn’s voting record shows he is open to exceptions. The media knows this and Democrats know this. The Heartbeat Bill that he voted for included exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
The 72-hour waiting period included an exception to protect the life of the mother.
Even still, the 72-hour waiting period simply said a mother has to wait 72 hours to have an abortion, once that 73rd hour hits, then all bets are off and that unborn life is no longer deserving of protection and can be aborted.
So, is Nunn backtracking by saying he supports exceptions for life of the mother, rape and incest? No. He isn’t. His record speaks for itself.
I try not to do this in “news” articles, but I feel it appropriate in this case. I’m going to add my two cents strictly from my perspective. Take it for what it is worth…
I don’t believe Zach Nunn to be what pro-lifers would call a real pro-life stalwart. I don’t mean offense by this either. I just mean when I think or pfo-life warriors in the Iowa Senate, Nunn isn’t a name at the top of that list.
I’m not saying he isn’t pro-life, keep in mind. I’m just saying when I think of pro-life champions, pro-life politicians who I do believe would support a Personhood bill, Nunn isn’t near the top of that list.
How can I say this with certainty?
Because in 2017 a life at conception bill was filed in the Iowa House, where Zach Nunn served. Twenty-three Republicans in the Iowa House sponsored the bill — Nunn was not one of them.
Oh, and in 2016 there was another bill in the Iowa House relating to the protection of life at the moment of conception. Nunn’s name wasn’t on that either.
Nunn simply is not going to lead a charge to ban all abortions. And I’ll be honest, if a bill were before the Congress to ban all abortions without exceptions, I wouldn’t expect Nunn to vote for it.
He might. But I also would be floored if there was a movement in Congress to do so.
I say all of this as a pretty pro-life person. And as someone who has watched things pretty closely at the Iowa Capitol since 2019.
There is nothing to suggest that Nunn is some big-time “anti-abortion” zealot hellbent on taking away a woman’s right to choose.
Unfortunately, all of this debate and talk about Nunn’s abortion stance means one thing — nobody is talking about how radical Cindy Axne’s abortion stance is.
Has Axne ever said at what point during pregnancy she doesn’t think an unborn baby should be able to be legally killed?
Axne has expressed desire to codify Roe v. Wade. She is 100 percent pro-abortion, according to NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
She was endorsed by radical pro-abortion group Emily’s List — which has its own “standards” when it comes to endorsing candidates. A candidate must support abortion rights, including the right to late-term or “partial-birth” abortions.
This tells me there isn’t a situation where she isn’t an abortion supporter.
If I’m wrong, her office is welcome to let us know which situations she would oppose abortion.
We can sit here and go back and forth about Nunn and what he thinks and how he’d legislate. But we already know how he’ll legislate on abortion. He’ll be pragmatic.
I don’t believe he is going to lead the pro-life cause by any stretch, again, no offense to him. I just haven’t seen it done in the Iowa House or Iowa Senate so I wouldn’t expect it in Congress.
I have no feeling that he’ll be an “extreme” pro-lifer. I wish he were.
On the other hand, we know Axne is an extreme supporter of aboriton. We know that. It has been demonstrated time and time again — not with her words or a raise of her hand, but with her actions. With bills she has sponsored. With votes she has taken. With endorsements she has received.
The problem is Axne’s radical abortion beliefs are in line with the mainstream media’s, so they’re not extreme to them.
But reality is reality. Nunn, honestly, is not the extremist on abortion — Axne is.
I’m not sure he has ever sponsored a life at conception bill. But we know Axne has sponsored and voted for bills to expand abortion and allow abortion on demand up until the moment of birth.
But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good “attack,” I guess. After all, when you have the voting record Axne has and the leadership of the Democrat Party is what it is, what else can we expect her to run on?