Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman on Wednesday seized on a recording of Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz calling abortion "murder" to underscore his own support for reproductive freedom and remind Pennsylvania voters of what's at stake in November's midterm election.
"I do believe life starts at conception, and I've said that multiple times," Oz told voters. "If life starts at conception, why do you care what age the heart starts beating at? It's, you know, it's still murder, if you were to terminate a child whether their heart's beating or not."
Fetterman, whose campaign released a statement decrying the Republican's "radical, out-of-touch position," said that "Oz knows his position isn't popular. That's why you need a hot mic in order to hear it."
The statement added that "Oz has on multiple occasions said that the only exception he supports to abortion is in the case of the life of the mother, without noting any exceptions for rape or incest."
"He wants to let extremists ban abortion" in Pennsylvania "and across the country," the campaign added. "Oz would be a rubber stamp to criminalize abortion and send doctors, nurses, and patients to jail."
Abortion has become a key focus for the midterms nationwide in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court reversing Roe v. Wade. According to Pew Research Center polling this month, 56% of registered voters say the issue will be very important in their vote, up from 43% in March.