Flip-Flopping GOP Candidate Claims His Wife’s Abortion Means He’ll Vote Pro-Choice

Sam Brown, the Republican Senate nominee for Nevada, appears to be using his wife's personal story as a smokescreen for his newfound position on abortion.

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Flip-Flopping GOP Candidate Claims His Wife’s Abortion Means He’ll Vote Pro-Choice

The Nevada Senate race in November could decide control of the chamber, so it’s no surprise that a conservative candidate is trying to triangulate on abortion despite their past public statements opposing bodily autonomy.

Sam Brown, who won the Republican primary last week, says he is pro-life but also claims that, if elected, he would not vote for a national abortion ban. This is a pivot from his position before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade—when he said he would always protect life—and before he tried and failed to win the GOP nomination in 2022. Upon losing that race, he became president and chairman of Nevada Faith and Freedom Coalition, an anti-abortion group. After announcing his second Senate run, Brown left the organization off his disclosure forms.

The Trump-endorsed Brown will face off against Sen. Jacky Rosen (D) in what’s expected to be one of the most competitive Senate races this year, and where a constitutional amendment to protect abortion is likely to be on the ballot. (Abortion is currently legal in Nevada up to the 24th week). The strong possibility of an abortion ballot measure means Nevada could be a prime opportunity for a Republican candidate to try to convince people that they can vote for him and the abortion measure.

After a decade of supporting abortion bans, Brown announced this change of heart during a February interview with NBC News. Brown and his wife Amy shared the story of her own abortion, which she got in Texas in 2008, months before they met. (They’d get married in 2009, after meeting while the former Army captain was recovering in a burn unit where she was working as a dietician.) Brown said his wife’s abortion taught him that “we’ve got to lead with compassion.” He added that he would vote against both a 15-week abortion ban and a total ban because doing so would override the will of people in Nevada, where abortion is legal through 24 weeks.

“Nevadans also need to know, voters need to know here, that I’m not in a position to—nor do I want to—do anything that changes our existing law,” Brown told NBC. “I cannot change it. I will not change it. I respect the law that the voters put in place over 30 years ago that grants access for women up to 24 weeks.”

“The [Nevada] law is stable and it’s not going anywhere,” he continued. “But I have seen and I expect that some people will try to use falsehoods and fear to make it an issue that probably in reality shouldn’t be used as a wedge issue.”

This is misleading, and a reversal from the 2022 Senate campaign when he said “I’m pro life, and I always will stand on the side of protecting life.” During that campaign, he also left the door open to voting for a federal ban, saying in a primary debate: “If there were any sort of legislation that would come forward, I’d want to see that specific language.” (Brown lost the GOP primary to former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who lost to the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto by less than one point.) Five months before the NBC interview, in September 2023, Brown said he only supported abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother.

The Associated Press also reported in March that it wasn’t the first time Brown “adjusted” his stance on abortion. In July 2021, Brown’s campaign website said it is “in our American interest that we protect the lives of unborn babies just as we would protect the life of any other American.” But that statement has since been removed.

What seems to have changed? The political fallout from Dobbs. NBC News exit polls showed that in November 2022, 28% of voters said abortion was their top issue, second only to inflation. Cortez Masto kept the seat blue by fewer than 8,000 votes. Now, Brown appears to be using his wife’s personal story as a smokescreen for his newfound position on abortion.

The Browns also said the February interview was the first time Amy publicly shared her abortion story, but Amy’s spoken about it at least three times before, often in opposition to reproductive freedom. In October 2014, Amy recorded a video testimonial supporting Texas Bill HB2, the law at the center of Wendy Davis’ famous filibuster, which banned abortion after 20 weeks and shut down half the clinics in the state. In the video, which has not been previously reported, Amy called HB2 “an amazing step in the right direction.” Brown ran for a seat in the Texas Legislature in 2014 and supported the law, which lacked exceptions for rape or incest. Amy also wrote about her abortion in a 2014 blog post for Watermark Community Church and spoke about it during a 2021 podcast appearance in which she agreed with the male host that men should have input in women’s abortion decisions.

When reached for comment, Brown said via a campaign spokesperson that he and Amy believe “mothers who are facing an unplanned pregnancy deserve the utmost compassion and understanding.” (Notice how he said “mothers,” not “women”—if you’re pregnant, you’re automatically a mom.) Brown continued: “I am pro-life, with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. Like President Trump, I believe the issue is now correctly left at the state level and applaud his leadership.”

But Trump doesn’t actually believe that abortion should be left to the states—it’s only what he’s saying in order to win the election. Plus, leaving abortion to the states means women in Texas don’t have the same choice today that Amy Brown had in 2008 since nearly all abortions are banned there.

And Trump doesn’t need Brown to vote on any bills to dramatically restrict or even ban abortion. He can do that via executive action, like by having the Department of Justice enforce the long-dormant Comstock Act, or directing the Food and Drug Administration to revoke approval of the abortion drug mifepristone. Or his federal judges could rule in favor of fetal personhood.

The Senate confirms a president’s nominees to run agencies and to sit on federal courts and it matters immensely who Trump installs at the DOJ and the FDA and who gets a lifetime seat on the judiciary. Brown’s website says he would confirm judges “who understand the importance of protecting life.” It also says he opposes “late term abortions,” which is a nonmedical term conservatives use to refer to abortions later in pregnancy. Jezebel asked the campaign how Brown would vote on a 20-week abortion ban and they did not respond by publication time.

“Sam Brown has a decade-long anti-abortion record and Nevada voters are not fooled by his desperate attempts to cover it up,” said Yari Aquino, director of campaign communications at EMILYs List. “Brown pushed to ban abortion without exceptions of rape and incest and led an extreme anti-choice organization. Sam Brown will stop at nothing to strip away our reproductive freedoms if elected.” The organization has endorsed Rosen for re-election and said: “She will continue to be a champion for reproductive freedom in the Senate.”

Bottom line: Voters can’t trust Sam Brown to protect their rights, especially not if Trump wins.

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