Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst, the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, said Thursday night that she supported some specific exceptions to a general ban on all abortions but refused to specify exactly what those exceptions would be.
“There would be certain exceptions but again it’s something that has to be discussed,” Ernst said. “I support life. Those things come together when there is consensus upon what is put into legislation. Right now there is not consensus but I do believe in supporting life.”
Ernst’s answer came during a debate between herself and Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Iowa. Earlier on Thursday The Huffington Post noted that Ernst suggested she supported a federal bill legalizing the strict anti-abortion measures commonly referred to as Personhood rights.
Ernst was then asked what those exceptions would be.
“Going back to the life of the mother I think that would be important. But again, civil discussion needs to happen,” Ernst said.
That answer was quickly followed up by another question: Would Ernst support banning a specific form of contraception?
“No, I do support a woman’s right to accessible, reliable, and safe contraception,” she responded.
When the questions turned to Braley on this topic Braley only stressed that he opposed late-term abortions.
“I have always stated, contrary to what Senator Ernst said, that I oppose all late-term abortions that are not necessary to save the life of a mother,” Braley said.
He was then asked to be more specific.
“It’s a term that has a specific legal meaning because of existing law and when the rights of the mother and the rights of the child have significance in terms of deciding,” Braley said.
The TPM Polltracker average gives Ernst a 3.5 point lead over Braley.