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Michigan GOP candidate wants US to withhold aid to countries where abortion is legal

John Gibbs has said he is ‘absolutely against abortion’ in all cases.

By Kaishi Chhabra - September 20, 2022
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John Gibbs
John Gibbs talks to the media as Michigan primary election results continue to roll in during his watch party at Re/Max of Grand Rapids, Mich., late Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. Gibbs a Republican candidate is running against incumbent Peter Meijer for Michigan's 3rd Congressional District. (Joel Bissell/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Michigan Republican congressional candidate John Gibbs suggested in a May interview that the United States should withhold aid from countries where abortion is legal.

Gibbs, who is running for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, has said he is “absolutely against abortion” and is “100% pro-life in all cases.”

“As a lawmaker, your job is to vote on legislation, so whenever anything comes up that involves pro-life, such as giving money to foreign countries that will let them perform abortions, we don’t want to do that,” Gibbs told a Michigan conservative political podcast in May.

The podcast’s host, Bill Putman, stars in the reality TV show “Meet the Putmans.” Last week, he was found guilty of four counts of assault and battery. He will be sentenced on Oct. 4.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, “970 million women, representing 59% of women of reproductive age, live in countries that broadly allow abortion.”

Just 24 countries prohibit abortion under any circumstances, including when the mother’s life or health is at risk.

When asked how he is going to “fight that fight” against abortion rights, Gibbs also mentioned defunding Planned Parenthood and said, “anything that gives money to Planned Parenthood, we don’t want to do that.”

“This sounds like a very strong way of saying it, but it’s gotta be said. If a woman is raped and has a precious baby as a result of that, kill the rapist, not the baby,” Gibbs said in the same interview.

Gibbs’ opponent in the race, Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten, told the American Independent Foundation that she would fight to protect abortion rights and reproductive health care in Michigan. She added that choosing to have an abortion is fundamentally a matter of privacy and freedom from government control.

“As the first mom and woman to ever represent West Michigan in Congress, I promise that I will always be a steadfast supporter of a woman’s God-given ability to make her own health care decisions and I will always protect a woman’s right to choose,” Scholten said.

Extreme views on abortion

Gibbs has made it clear he opposes rape and incest exceptions — a stance that is out of step with the vast majority of Michiganders, including Republican voters in the state.

“There are many great Americans all around the country who were actually conceived from rape, and they’re doing great things,” Gibbs told the Detroit News in May.

“One only knows which future CEO, President, or Pope, may have been born by a mother who contemplated abortion but was compassionately deterred by laws which protect life,” Gibbs’ campaign website reads.

In May, Gibbs said the leaked Supreme Court draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade was “great news for women,” while adding that the leaked draft was “an attempt to create political ammo and social unrest ahead of upcoming midterm elections.”

Gibbs has disregarded concerns that the fall of Roe put women’s health at risk, calling it a scare tactic. He claimed that it is rare for patients to require an abortion to save their life, and said there should be laws to ensure such situations should not “serve as a workaround” to promote abortion.

“It’s definitely not true that the only solution, in this case, is abortion,” Gibbs told the Detroit News. “We have much better technology these days to save people and meet needs.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Physicians said in a statement that there are situations where pregnancy termination in the form of an abortion is the only medical intervention that can preserve a patient’s health or save their life.

“Pregnancy imposes significant physiological changes on a person’s body. These changes can exacerbate underlying or preexisting conditions, like renal or cardiac disease, and can severely compromise health or even cause death,” the statement said. “As physicians, we are focused on protecting the health and lives of the patients for whom we provide care. Without question, abortion can be medically necessary.”

A ‘pipeline to abortion’

According to Gibbs, American culture including “Hollywood, music, and movies” promotes “sexual promiscuity” that results in unwanted pregnancies and abortion.

“There is a pipeline to abortion,” Gibbs said. “Inner city area kids want to grow up happy but once they’re involved with promiscuity, which our culture promotes, there’s where you get abortions and unwanted pregnancies.”

He has also claimed that there is “a connection” between abortion and guns.

“Every woman should have a gun,” Gibbs said. “We must protect women and give them concealed carry. The suggestion that making it harder to obtain a gun is simply false, no science behind it. Concealed carry lowers crime.”

In reality, multiple academic studies have found that concealed carry laws have been linked to an increase in violent crime.

Election denial and ‘spirit cooking’

Like many other Republican candidates, Gibbs has promoted the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. He ran against and defeated incumbent Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) — one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — in Michigan’s Aug. 2 Republican primary.

“I think when you look at the results of the 2020 election, there are anomalies in there, to put it very lightly, that are simply mathematically impossible,” Gibbs said during a roundtable discussion on WOOD TV8 of Grand Rapids, Michigan in July.

As a Trump-endorsed candidate, he has downplayed the deadly attacks at the U.S. Capitol.

“All around the country, the criminals are running free, but guys walking inside a building are getting arrested,” he told a local news radio station last December.

This isn’t the first time Gibbs has given credence to baseless conspiracy theories.

Before Gibbs served as a senior adviser at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he spread a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman participated in Satanic rituals. He also promoted views shared by Wayne Dupree, a right-wing radio host known for spreading the conspiracy theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Dupree tweeted that Clinton was losing Black voters’ support because her campaign manager took part in “Satanic #SpiritCooking.” Gibbs quote-tweeted Dupree, adding, “True, true, and true. #Trump #SpiritCooking #BlackLivesMatter.”

The claim has been debunked several times.

The nonpartisan Cook Political Report currently rates the contest as a “lean Democratic” race.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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