Anti-choice organizations continue to support Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, amid accusations of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Moore is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in 1979. Three other women said he romantically pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his thirties, according to a Washington Post report that quotes all four women on the record.
Some prominent Republicans have said that Moore should withdraw from the December 12 special election if the allegations are true—though they have not specified what kind of additional evidence they would require.
Several members of the anti-choice movement, however, are steadfast in their support for the Republican Senate candidate.
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Troy Newman, president of the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, told Rewire on Friday that he stands by Moore “110 percent.”
Newman, whose endorsement is highlighted on Moore’s campaign page, once penned a book that, according to Right Wing Watch’s Miranda Blue, suggests people who have abortions should be treated like murderers and that “abortionists” should be executed.
“This is typical far-left baloney,” Newman said of the allegations against Moore. “The guy stood for statewide office now the fourth time. [It is] obviously one of the most important moments in our nation’s history when it comes to the Senate, and now this person comes out. It’s absolutely ridonkulous.” He said he was not at all worried that the allegations could be true. “If it was so disturbing and so horrible, why did this person wait” to tell their story, he said.
The anti-choice movement’s dedication to Moore despite the allegations may be due to his devotion to its cause. Moore promoted his opposition to abortion rights when he first announced his Senate run, and he made no secret of his anti-choice views during his time on the Alabama Supreme Court. He has suggested that the September 11 terrorist attacks may have been part of the “consequences” the United States faces for legalizing abortion.
Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association Action, is listed as having endorsed Moore on the candidate’s website. The anti-choice organization, which is the 501(c)(4) arm of American Family Association, stood by Moore in an emailed statement: “AFA Action believes Justice Roy Moore to be a truthful man and a solid Christian. Based on his statement of denial we are proud to stand by our endorsement of Justice Roy Moore.”
Cal Zastrow, an anti-choice activist connected to Operation Save America (OSA) and co-founder of Personhood USA, said he is excited to continue to support Moore’s campaign. “I’m so excited to keep volunteering for Judge Roy Moore in his campaign for the U.S. Senate! I know him. He is a righteous man,” Zastrow said on a post to his Facebook page Thursday evening.
National Right to Life did not respond to emails asking whether they stood by their endorsement of Moore. After the Washington Post story was published, Moore sent his supporters an email asking for their financial support amid the “most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I’ve EVER faced.” The email included a graphic plugging the anti-choice group’s endorsement.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), said on Twitter Friday afternoon, “The allegations reported by the media against Roy Moore are beyond disturbing and, if true, would disqualify him or anyone else engaged in such behavior from holding a position of public trust.” He did not mention whether Family Research Council Action PAC plans to withdraw its endorsement of Moore. FRC in an email to Rewire referred to Perkins’ tweet when asked for the group’s response to the allegations against Moore.
Sam McLure, who is running for the Republican nomination for attorney general in Alabama and has targeted abortion care providers on social media, told Rewire in an email: “Let’s give some time to see how these allegations play out.”
“If they are true, then a man in a position of trust took advantage of a practical orphan. That’s dispicable [sic] … if true,” he said. “However, given Moore’s track record of faithfully serving our state for longer than I’ve been alive, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.”