October 24, 2021

Bazar Lead

Just Law & Legal

GOP House candidate reveals opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest

Republican Jake Evans is a top challenger to Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath in a key swing district in Georgia.

A former Georgia ethics official who announced a bid in July to challenge Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath in a key swing district revealed he has anti-abortion views that are far outside the mainstream.

Jake Evans, a Republican who has picked up the endorsement of conservative ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich as well as the Atlanta Tea Party, wrote in a questionnaire for an anti-abortion group that he opposes abortion in almost every instance.

On the questionnaire for the Georgia Life Alliance, in order to obtain their “pro-life certification,” Evans wrote that he believes abortion should be illegal in nearly every instance, including “in cases of rape where the rape is reported to an appropriate law enforcement agency” and “in cases of incest where the incest is committed against a minor and it has been reported to an appropriate agency.”

The only he time believes an abortion should be legal, according to the questionnaire, is to prevent the “death of the mother.”

Evans also revealed he believes that Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that grants the right to an abortion until a fetus reaches viability, should be changed in order to allow states to restrict abortions further, including allowing abortion bans after 20 weeks gestation and allowing states to implement ultrasound requirements for women seeking abortion procedures.

Polling shows Evans’ positions are out of step with the majority of Americans.

A Pew Research Center poll from May found that 59% of adults in the United States think abortion should be legal in “all or most cases.”

And an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll from 2019 — when GOP-run Alabama passed an abortion ban in nearly all cases — found that 77% of people opposed overturning Roe v. Wade.

That same survey found that even a majority of Republican men — or 59% — oppose banning abortion in cases of rape or incest, which Evans wants to do.

Evans did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the American Independent Foundation on whether he feared his positions could be damaging in a general election, due to his views are outside the mainstream of abortion politics.

Of course, Evans would still need to win a primary to be the GOP nominee in the district.

He is currently one of four declared Republican candidates seeking to challenge McBath in Georgia’s 6th District, a suburban Atlanta seat that rapidly swung Democratic since Donald Trump was elected in 2016.

McBath first won the seat in 2018, defeating then-GOP Rep. Karen Handel by 1 point. In a 2020 rematch with Handel, McBath won by an even larger 9 points despite being heavily targeted by national Republicans.

In the 2018 race, McBath ran on her support for abortion rights, airing an ad that attacked Handel for being “against a woman making her own health care decisions.”

“Handel went to Congress and repeatedly voted to make abortion illegal, and she’d even jail doctors,” a narrator said in McBath’s ad, calling Handel “extreme.”

McBath Campaign Manager Jake Orvis attacked Evans’ abortion stance, as well as the stance of another one of McBath’s potential challengers, Suzi Voyles, and suggested McBath will continue to run on her own record on abortion rights.

“While Jake Evans’s and Suzi Voyles’s personal extremist agendas to control women’s bodies are among the most radical in the country, Rep. McBath has proudly fought for the right of women to make their own health care decisions,” Orvis told the American Independent Foundation.

With redistricting on the horizon, it’s unclear how much McBath’s district will change, or whether Republicans, who control the redistricting process in the state, will pack more GOP voters in the seat to make it hard, if not impossible, for a Democrat to win.

If it’s made more favorable for Republicans, it’s possible that even more Republican candidates would jump in the race.

Because redistricting has not yet occurred, the Cook Political Report hasn’t rated House races for the 2022 midterm elections.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.