Masters’ website previously said he was “100% pro-life” and noted his support for a constitutional amendment that “recognizes unborn babies are human being that may not be killed” and the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and a slew of other legislation that would make it illegal to perform an abortion 20 weeks after conception.
Masters is now looking to modify those views, with his website using more careful and less specific language on abortion and the candidate putting out a video that looks to scale back his strict positions.
Instead of saying he supports a broad constitutional amendment on abortion, Masters’ website now says he supports one that specifically “bans late term (third trimester) abortion and partial-birth abortion at the federal level.” Instead of listing the litany of abortion legislation he supports, the website now just broadly states that he supports “pro-life legislation, pregnancy centers, and programs that make it easier for pregnant women to support a family and decide to choose life.” And while his website previously noted his support for ending “taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood, all other abortionists, and any organization that promotes abortion,” it now singles out Planned Parenthood, removing the reference to “abortionists” and other groups.
Archived versions of the website are not available on the Wayback Machine, a popular internet archive, but screen shots were provided to CNN. NBC News first reported on the changes to Masters’ website.
A person close to Masters told CNN that the Republican candidate designs, codes and updates his website himself — and that his recent updates to the abortion section reflect his desire to use his policy section as a “living document” rather than an immutable record of his positions.
This person said that Masters’ views have not changed and that he still holds the positions he has scrubbed from the site.
A spokesman for Masters echoed this in a statement provided to CNN.
“Blake is 100% pro-life. That hasn’t changed,” said Zach Henry, a communications aide to the Masters campaign.
A spokesperson for the campaign of Sen. Mark Kelly, Masters’ Democratic opponent, lambasted the Republican for the attempted shift.
“If Blake Masters thinks that he can quietly delete passages from his website and disguise just how out of touch and dangerous his abortion stance is, he’s in for a rude awakening,” said Sarah Guggenheimer. “No embarrassing pivot can hide the truth: Masters has called abortion ‘demonic,’ a ‘religious sacrifice,’ and backs a national abortion ban. Arizonans know the truth and won’t fall for this.”
Kelly Dupps, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Votes in Arizona, called Masters’ move “desperate” and “sad but unsurprising.”
Around the same time he edited his website, Masters tweeted out a campaign video that cast his abortion views as “common sense,” using his updated positions to attack Kelly.
“Look, I support a ban on very late-term and partial birth abortion. And most Americans agree with that,” he says in the video.
“It’s no surprise that Republicans are trying to mislead voters and hide their deeply unpopular positions on abortion rights,” said Christina Reynolds, a top operative at EMILY’s List, which backs Democratic female candidates who support abortion rights. “They know that voters are willing to hold responsible the people who take away their rights and they are concerned about their elections.”