Democrats open general election campaign with ad hitting Dixon over abortion stance

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Lansing — A Democrat-backed group launched a new ad Thursday, two days after the primary election, attacking Michigan Republican governor nominee Tudor Dixon's anti-abortion stance.

The commercial, the first announced of the general election race, focuses on what's expected to be one of the key issues of the campaign between Dixon, a businesswoman and conservative commentator from Norton Shores, and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who's seeking a second term.

Entitled "No Exceptions," the ad from the organization Put Michigan First features Dixon speaking in multiple media appearances about her belief that abortion should be banned with only an exception for instances when the mother's life is in danger.

Republican governor candidate Tudor Dixon participates in a roundtable discussion on police issues with members of the Police Officers Association of Michigan in Redford.

"Tudor Dixon, that’s not acceptable for Michigan," the ad concludes.

Dixon has been endorsed by Right to Life of Michigan and has voiced opposition to exceptions that would allow abortion in cases of rape or incest.

Whitmer, on the other hand, has vowed to "fight like hell" to protect abortion access and has been pushing to end a longstanding Michigan law that bans abortion unless "necessary to preserve the life" of the mother.

A June U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which had provided access to abortion nationally, could revive Michigan's longstanding prohibition. However, the courts have issued a temporary delay on enforcing Michigan's law.

In a July poll, commissioned by The Detroit News and WDIV-TV (Channel 4), about 68% of 500 likely GOP primary voters said they supported allowing abortion when a woman was raped or impregnated by a family member, and 75% said they support such exceptions in the case of a pregnant minor.

The statewide survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. 

Sam Newton, spokesman for Put Michigan First, said the new ad will allow Michiganians to hear Dixon describe her "dangerous" abortion stance "in or her words."

"Tudor Dixon’s agenda is too radical for Michigan," Newton said. "She supports a dangerous abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother — and wants to enforce it by throwing nurses and doctors in jail."

Put Michigan First is tied to the Democratic Governors Association.

Dixon has vowed on the campaign trail to "always stand for life." She has called Whitmer an "abortion radical."

"We must reject the culture of death and instead embrace life," Dixon said in June after receiving Right to Life's endorsement. "As I previously said, our vision for a just America is one that fosters a culture of life, from womb to grave. One where families can have children — and afford them."

During a July appearance on journalist Charlie LeDuff's "No BS News Hour" podcast, LeDuff asked Dixon about a 14-year-old who was the victim of abuse by an uncle.

"Perfect example," Dixon responded.

"You're saying carry that?" LeDuff asked.

"A life is a life for me. That's how it is. That's for me. That's my feeling," Dixon said.

A portion of the exchange is featured in the new ad.

Before the primary, Put Michigan First bought about $2 million in airtime to argue Dixon's policies would "slash" funding for police agencies. Dixon's campaign labeled the ad "false" and noted she was endorsed by the Police Officers Association of Michigan.

The ad on abortion will air statewide, according to Put Michigan First.