Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate James Craig told supporters that he is pro-life and that if elected, he will block Democrats from repealing a state law that makes it a felony to perform an abortion.
Craig's remarks were secretly recorded by American Bridge 21st Century, a progressive political action committee that conducts opposition research on Republicans, and leaked to the Detroit Metro Times.
While speaking with supporters last Thursday, Craig was asked if he would stop Democrats "from undoing the law that makes abortion illegal in Michigan."
"I will do whatever I can — I'm pro-life," Craig said.
When asked again if he would block Democrats from "repealing the law," Craig said, "yes."
The law in question was adopted in 1931 and makes it a felony to perform an abortion in the state of Michigan. After the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision, the law was nullified but has remained on the books. The left has taken a renewed interest in the obsolete law as abortion rights advocates and Democrats worry that should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, it would go back into effect and ban abortions in Michigan.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Craig's incumbent opponent, has called on state lawmakers to repeal the law and Michigan state Sen. Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) in February introduced a bill to do so.
"The right to abortion is about freedom, bodily autonomy, and people who become pregnant determining their own futures," said Sam Inglot, the deputy director of Progress Michigan, a progressive activist group. He told the Metro Times that "The fact that James Craig is willing to take that freedom away is incredibly regressive and dangerous. The idea of reverting to a nearly 100-year-old law that strips people of these rights is not the direction we want to go in the state."
The Michigan Democratic Party attacked Craig and accused him of wanting to "make felons out of healthcare providers."
"Thanks to a 1931 Michigan law that Craig is committed to keeping on the books, that's exactly the hostile environment women and families would immediately face should Roe v. Wade get overturned. Already, the Supreme Court is set to hear a direct challenge to this crucial case at the end of the year. For the Detroit Dodger to choose this as the first clear answer of his candidacy proves that he's been refusing to answer questions in the hopes that it would hide his extremist views from Michiganders," said party spokeswoman Rodericka Applewhaite.
Craig, the former chief of Detroit police, launched his campaign for governor last week and was met with immediate hostility from progressive activists. Black Lives Matter protesters shouted down the candidate as he attempted to announce his run for governor in Belle Isle last Tuesday, forcing him to flee the scene with his campaign for a more secure location.