Congressional candidate Dan Goldman kicked up significant backlash Tuesday for comments he made about abortion in a recent interview — sparking almost immediate criticism from at least four rivals in the crowded Democratic primary field.
Speaking to the Jewish outlet Hamodia, Goldman said he wouldn’t object to a state law that bars abortions after a fetus is considered viable — as long as there’s no risk to the mother and the pregnancy wasn’t a result of rape or incest.
“I would not object to that,” Goldman said.
When asked a followup, Goldman whispered with an aide and then backtracked.
“I think that my personal views on the termination of pregnancy are secondary to the right of a woman to make the decision about a pregnancy herself,” he said.
Goldman, the lead counsel in former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial, is running for an open congressional seat that covers lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. The publication of his response to the abortion question Tuesday drew an immediate and negative reaction from his opponents in that race.
“Dan Goldman has just told us, clearly and in response to direct questions, that he supports certain abortion restrictions, supports state-level laws restricting reproductive health care and is not a reliable vote for Democratic bills like the Women’s Health Protection Act,” said City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan), one of the opponents. “There are candidates in this race, including myself, who don’t triangulate on issues of fundamental rights and don’t have to confer with an aide to know where we stand on abortion: we’ve been fighting for it from day one and have a record to prove it.”
Another rival, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn), called Goldman’s comments “abhorrent” — especially after the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which enshrined the right to get an abortion for decades.
“With reproductive rights under assault across the nation, a Democrat who won’t defend the right to an abortion is no better than Justice Thomas or Alito,” Simon said, referring to two of the Supreme Court justices who helped overturn Roe. “I helped codify Roe v. Wade in New York to ensure a woman’s right to choose is never infringed upon. No one, especially the government, should force you to carry a pregnancy to term.”
Rep. Mondaire Jones, a Democrat who now represents parts of Westchester County and all of Rockland County, said the comments signaled that Goldman “will not be an ally in the fight to protect abortion rights.” Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) said they were “appalling and completely disqualifying.
In response to all that pushback, Goldman said that he “misspoke.”
“As I subsequently clarified later in the interview, the decision to have an abortion is a health care decision that needs to be made between a woman and her doctor. Period,” he said. “I unequivocally support a woman’s right to choose. There is no room for government involvement at any point in time, for any reason.”