Dan Goldman got into trouble Tuesday for telling a news outlet that he “would not oppose” state laws that ban abortion after fetal viability, albeit with some exceptions. (Photo: Tom Williams/Getty Images)
And Dan Goldman, a former federal prosecutor and candidate in New York’s new 10th Congressional District, learned that the hard way.
Goldman, who led the impeachment trial of the then president by congressional Democrats in 2019 donald trumpsparked outrage Tuesday over an exchange he had over abortion rights with Orthodox Jews hamodia media outlet. (Hamodia’s readership overlaps with the portion of voters in New York’s 10th district who live in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish enclave of Borough Park.)
asked if he supports restrictions on the right to abortion of any kind, Goldman said he “would not object” to a state banning the procedure after the point of fetal viability, which is typically 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. He clarified that he would only support such a law if it included exceptions for certain cases, such as when the mother’s health is at risk.
“The mother’s health is always an exception,” he said.
In the interview transcript that Hamodia published, the interviewer, Reuvain Borchardt, noted that after giving that answer, Goldman consulted privately with an assistant. After consultation, he changed his answer to clarify that he supported unrestricted abortion rights, even past the point of fetal viability.
Goldman later implied that his opposition to abortion after viability was a personal opinion rather than one he would endorse to become law.
“I believe that a woman’s right to choose is an individual woman’s decision,” she said, “and that, frankly, one of the reasons I believe so strongly in the right to choose is because I don’t believe that women’s beliefs No one, religious or otherwise, should override a woman’s decision about her own health care.”
By some measures, Goldman’s initial response was not that unusual. Even before the 1973 Roe decision was overturned, states were free to restrict abortion past the point of fetal viability.
But many progressives are dissatisfied with the status quo in New York, arguing that gestational limits fail to take into account, among other things, the obstacles that motivate a very small fraction of women to seek abortions later in pregnancy.
“There are people who need an abortion after viability,” Elizabeth Nash, a state policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice policy think tank, told HuffPost. “The law should not interfere with medical practice or medical care. That’s what abortion restrictions do.”
The medical exemptions that states offer “end up being too narrow” to accommodate people who need abortions at that late stage, Nash added.
Goldman apologized for its initial comments in a statement after the article surfaced on Tuesday.
I misstated myself in an interview yesterday, and as I clarified later in the interview, the decision to have an abortion is a health care decision that must be made between a woman and her doctor. Period.Dan Goldman, Democratic candidate for Congress
“I misstated myself in an interview yesterday, and as I clarified later in the interview, the decision to have an abortion is a health care decision that must be made between a woman and her doctor. Period,” she said. “I unequivocally support a woman’s right to choose. There is no room for government involvement at any time, for any reason.”
That was not enough to prevent a wave of criticism.
Rival candidates in New York’s 10th Ward, which encompasses lower Manhattan and a group of mostly affluent liberal neighborhoods in Brooklyn, seized on Goldman’s interview exchange as an opportunity to contrast each other favorably.
“By supporting extreme ‘feasibility’ abortion bans, Dan Goldman has told New Yorkers that if he can buy this seat in Congress, he will not be an ally in the fight to protect abortion rights,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones (D.N.Y.) said in a statement.
New York Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D) suggested she was speaking to Goldman’s ignorance as a man unable to get pregnant.
“I don’t need an assistant telling me that more than half the country is experiencing one of the worst human rights catastrophes of our lifetime because lawyers like Goldman think they can tell us what to do with our bodies,” Niou said in a statement. . “And we don’t need more arrogant men running for office in the midst of this crisis, who clearly don’t know or care enough to come clean about their story, just because they think they deserve it.”
New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera (D), who helped found one of the first municipal funds in the country to help women who travel to other states for abortions, also called the comments “disqualifying.”
“There are candidates in this race, including myself, who don’t triangulate on fundamental rights issues and we don’t have to consult with an aide to find out where we stand on abortion — we’ve been fighting for it since day one and have track records that prove it,” he said in a statement.
New York Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon tweeted that Goldman’s comments were “abhorrent,” adding that a “[D]Democrat who does not defend the right to abortion is not better than justice [Clarence] Thomas or [Samuel] Wing.
Elizabeth Holtzman, a former prosecutor and legislator, who was first elected to Congress a year before the Roe decision that enshrined the right to abortion, went a step further in her criticism. She asked Goldman to drop her career.
“Bad enough that the Supreme Court tells us we can’t control our bodies and now we have Dan Goldman joining in,” he tweeted. “Congress has enough lukewarm Democrats who won’t fight like hell to codify #RoeVWade in federal law.”
Goldman is one of 12 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the Aug. 23 primary.
A recent survey showed him in a competitive third place with 12% support.
Goldman is second only to Jones in fundraising, having bought more than $1.2 million at the end of June. Still, with independent wealth, he hasn’t ruled out supplementing campaign funds with his own money.
in a HuffPost interview in July, Goldman argued that the Biden administration should act more aggressively to safeguard abortion rights. She proposed using the Veterans Affairs hospital system to perform abortions for people in states that have banned the practice.
“We have to attack this on multiple fronts,” he said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.