Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, has been stuck in a relentless news cycle about him being a 10-home-owning millionaire who eats crudités and actually lives in New Jersey. He has likely been wanting to return to discussions of the issues against his opponent, lieutenant governor John Fetterman.
Well, he’s in luck! The Daily Beast obtained audio from a May virtual town hall, a week before the Republican primary, in which Oz said that abortion is murder at any stage of pregnancy and backtracked on his 2019 comments defending abortion rights. The town hall was on May 10, about a week after the leaked Supreme Court draft, but before the court officially overturned Roe v. Wade.
“I do believe life starts at conception, and I’ve said that multiple times,” Oz said, per the 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.”
These comments came in Oz’s response to an attendee who asked how the candidate could square his current stances with what he said just three years ago, specifically that “the heart’s not beating” six weeks into a pregnancy.
Oz has defended Roe as recently as 2019 and said overturning it would negatively impact women’s health. In a radio interview that year with The Breakfast Club, he said that lawmakers calling six-week bans “heartbeat” bills were full of shit. “There are electrical exchanges at six weeks, but the heart’s not beating,” Oz said. Using this word misleads people into “envisioning a little acorn heart beating in there, and that’s not what’s going on at six weeks.”
Oz tried to wave this away at the town hall by claiming that in 2019, he was worried that using medically inaccurate language would prevent the laws from being enforced. “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.” Uh-huh. As if medical nonsense has ever stopped abortion laws from taking effect.
But back in 2019, Oz had wildly different stances than he does now as a Republican political candidate. He said at the time that while he personally disliked abortion, he didn’t want to force that belief on others, or, as he put it, “interfere with everyone else’s stuff.” He seems more than happy to interfere now.
“Dr. Oz is wildly out of touch with the people of Pennsylvania who support abortion rights by 9-10,” Emilia Rowland, a Fetterman campaign spokesperson, told the Daily Beast. “If he’s elected, he will be a rubber stamp to criminalize abortion, appoint justices even more radical than today’s, and send doctors, nurses, and patients to jail.”