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As wife discloses abortion story, Nevada GOP Senate hopeful Sam Brown opposes federal ban

During an NBC interview, Sam Brown said states should be allowed to set their own rules around abortion access, and he will not support a national abortion ban.
Tabitha Mueller
Tabitha Mueller
Election 2024

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Brown, a veteran and the likely front-runner to take on Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in the state’s 2024 U.S. Senate race, says he would not support a federal abortion ban if elected and will respect Nevada law allowing abortion up to 24 weeks.

Brown’s comments came in an interview with NBC alongside his wife, Amy Brown, who revealed Wednesday that she became unexpectedly pregnant and had an abortion when she was 24.

Amy Brown said she was serving as an Army dietician and was about to finish an internship and enter a full-time job. She had the abortion when she was five and a half weeks pregnant and told NBC that the experience 16 years ago helped her empathize with women who had an unwanted pregnancy and were struggling with the decision’s consequences.

“I just felt this immense amount of pressure that I had to do it. I felt all alone. I felt really overwhelmed, and I also felt a lot of shame,” Amy Brown said. “In that moment, I felt like my back was against a wall, and the walls were closing in, and I had one door out — and so I pursued that door.” 

Holding his wife’s hand during the interview, Sam Brown said that her story is a personal example that drawing a line in the sand or putting something on paper is “missing the point that there is at least a woman who is really going through something that might be one of the most challenging things in her life, and shame on us if we allow the narratives and the positioning to miss the fact that she was doing that alone.”

The interview comes after an election cycle where abortion proved to be a motivating issue in Nevada, particularly for Democratic voters. In the state’s 2022 U.S. Senate campaign, abortion access was a winning issue for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s (D-NV) re-election bid, with the incumbent running hard on the issue before her narrow victory over Republican Adam Laxalt. 

A July 2022 poll of Nevada registered voters found that abortion ranked second behind the economy as the issue most motivating respondents to vote, and a KFF/AP voter survey last fall found that for more than 4 in 10 Nevada voters, the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade had a major impact on who they voted for.

Before the NBC interview, Sam Brown had avoided saying whether he would support specific limits on abortion nationally or within Nevada — a stance Democrats have attacked him for on the campaign trail.

A Rosen campaign spokesperson on Wednesday pointed to Brown’s past involvement and support of anti-abortion organizations and said he “is a direct threat to Nevadans’ reproductive freedom, and he cannot be trusted to protect abortion rights in the Senate.”

Amy said that when she first told her husband about the abortion, he understood that it was a “difficult decision” and was one that she “regretted.” But she did not feel judged by him.

“Just having that bedrock of support and love from Sam and just feeling respected, having a safe space to process and then him sharing his faith with me really kind of put me on a journey where I could start healing from this.”

Sam Brown in the interview expanded on his previous statements about abortion, saying that states should be allowed to set their own rules, but that he would not budge on his stance against a national abortion ban even if elected and if Republicans took control of the Senate and brought forward a national 15-week abortion ban, similar to the one proposed by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC).

As for his past support for a 20-week abortion ban as a legislative candidate in Texas nearly a decade ago, Brown said that he supported the state’s right to make that decision and that law would not apply to Nevada.

Brown said he is personally “pro-life” and on his campaign website says he would support federal judges “who understand the importance of protecting life” and oppose bills that push for federal abortion funding, late-term abortions and abortions without parental notifications. 

But he insisted that he would respect Nevada’s abortion law that protects access to abortions through 24 weeks of pregnancy and after 24 weeks in order to protect the health of the mother, which Nevada voters affirmed via a 1990 referendum.

“As someone who’s striving to represent Nevada in the U.S. Senate, Nevadans also need to know, voters need to know here, that I’m not in a position to — nor do I want to — do anything that changes our existing law,” Brown said. “I cannot change it. I will not change it. I respect the law that the voters put in place over 30 years ago that grants access for women up to 24 weeks.”

This story was corrected on 2/21/2023 at 5:34 p.m. to reflect that Amy Brown was in a committed relationship when she became pregnant.


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