Earlier this week, he rejected the idea of a federal ban on the procedure. In May, when a leaked draft opinion of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v Wade was leaked, he championed it by saying he looked “forward to supporting pro-life legislation that saves innocent lives in the U.S. Senate”. And in a 2019 interview, he described efforts to reverse Roe as “concerning”.
Now, newly-emerged audio - obtained by The Daily Beast - revealed the Trump-backed Republican’s most extreme opinion on abortion to date.
In the leaked audio from a tele-town hall held in May, Dr Oz is asked by an attendee about how he manages to square the circle of his opinions on abortion now versus the ones he’s previously voiced, specifically dredging up the 2019 interview on Breakfast Club when the then-TV personality took a common pro-choice stance.
“I do believe life starts at conception, and I’ve said that multiple times,” Dr Oz said at the event, according to The Daily Beast. “If life starts at conception … why do you care what age the heart starts beating at? It’s, you know, it’s still murder, if you were to terminate a child whether their heart’s beating or not.”
The Court is right. Roe was wrongly decided. Abortion laws should be left up to the American people and their elected representatives. I look forward to supporting pro-life legislation that saves innocent lives in the U.S. Senate. https://t.co/imigvISfMI
— Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz) May 3, 2022
The Senate candidate’s post-Roe response stood in direct opposition to the statements he’d made just two years earlier in a still Roe v Wade America.
“Just being logical about it. If you think that the moment of conception you’ve got a life, then why would you even wait six weeks? Right, then an in vitro fertilised egg is still a life,” the then-pro-choice doctor said in response to a question posed by radio host and political pundit “Charlamagne tha God” in the 2019 interview.
Perhaps noticing that his updated remarks at the town hall required further clarification, Dr Oz went on to explain his earlier comments as coming as a place for “concern” that anti-abortion laws couldn’t be enforced if they were simply following heartbeat laws.
“My mother-in-law wrote a lot of the original pro-life literature in Montgomery County,” Dr Oz continued. “My argument in that radio interview was as a doctor, a heart starts beating at around nine weeks. So I was concerned that if legislators picked a timeframe that’s not medically accurate, it would invalidate the law.”
More recently the TV star struck a more cautious note when speaking at a town hall in Monroeville on Monday, where he toed the line of disagreeing with a federal ban on the procedure but wouldn’t address what his state-level opinions on the matter were either.
“Health care is always better delivered locally, and I trust democracy,” he said when asked by a supporter during the Q-and-A portion of the event, according to WITF. “I trust your ability to influence our representatives in Harrisburg, which is where this decision should be made. … Let the state figure this out.”
Dr Oz also confirmed during this week’s address that he supports a person’s right to an abortion in specific instances, such as when there a danger to “the life of the mother and in cases of rape or incest.”
— Rachel Tripp (@retripp) August 25, 2022
Democratic challenger in the Pennsylvania race, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, has staged the race against his pro-life-backed opponent as a fight for the state’s abortion rights.
People all across this country are strongly on the side of women's reproductive freedom
Even in 🔴 states - Kansas just proved it
I will protect abortion rights. Dr. Oz will take them away. It’s that simple.
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) August 3, 2022
Within days of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe being announced, Mr Fetterman – who is backed by the NARAL Pro-Choice America, a national abortion rights group – issued a statement reaffirming his campaign’s support to protect access in the state.
“The right to an abortion is non-negotiable, and it’s a disgrace that the Supreme Court shot it down last week,” said Mr Fetterman. “When I’m your next U.S. Senator, I will vote to eliminate the filibuster and protect the right to an abortion. This has been settled for 50 years and is just plain common-sense. I will vote to protect abortion rights, and my opponent, Dr. Oz, will not. It’s that simple.”
The pair will face off in the November midterms for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania.
The Independent reached out to the Oz campaign for comment but did not hear back immediately.