Dr. Mehmet Oz, a daytime television doctor who announced in November he’d be running for an open Pennsylvania Senate seat, has long faced accusations that he is a glorified snake oil salesman. Critics point to his promotion of dubious weight loss products and homeopathic medicine as proof that he’s a grifter. Dr Oz’s Senate campaign could very well be his latest scam, this time with Republicans as the mark.
In his campaign announcement, Dr. Oz described himself as a “conservative Republican” and assured voters that “as a surgeon” he “knows how precious life is”. This point was dramatically underscored with a video clip of Dr. Oz kissing a baby.
It turns out the Dr. Oz’s position on abortion is not so simple, and although there’s a lot of debate over what “conservative” means in the Trump era, few would argue that that you can be conservative without being pro-life.
Dr. Oz has attempted to put the issue to bed with a new op-ed in the Washington Examiner.
“From the moment of conception to natural death, all life is a miracle,” Oz writes. “I have literally held a baby’s tiny beating heart in my hand. And in that very moment, it is impossible to deny how precious every life is.”
“I will be a bold voice in the Senate and a proud champion for the pro-life movement. I won’t ever shy away from sharing my pro-life beliefs, even as pro-abortion advocates in medicine, the media and Big Tech try to silence me,” he says.
This is pretty emphatic, but it doesn’t square with what he’s been saying about abortion over the past few years.
During a Breakfast Club interview in 2019, Dr. Oz said he was “really worried” about an Alabama law that banned abortions with few exceptions, including if the mother’s life was at risk. He took issue with “heartbeat laws”, arguing that baby’s hearts are not beating in the womb but merely sending “electrical charges”, and made clear he doesn’t stand with people who believe life begins at conception.
“At a personal level, I wouldn’t want anyone in my family to have an abortion. I told my kids this, I mean I love the lives that they’re creating so much that I personally wouldn’t want it. But I don’t want to interfere with everyone else’s stuff because it’s hard enough getting through life as it is,” Dr. Oz said, employing the Joe Biden position on abortion.
Dr. Oz hardly clarified things in a Fox News interview in December. He was asked repeatedly when he believes life begins, and gave the puzzling answer that it’s “when you’re in the mother’s womb.”
“If I’m pro-life, then that’s a decision that comes back to the sanctity of when you think life does begin. And I believe that begins when you’re in the mother’s womb,” he said.
“Life’s already started when you’re in your mother’s womb,” he asserted when challenged, “But it’s a rathole to get trapped in the different ways to talk about it.”
Shortly after that disastrous interview, Oz sent out a statement with near identical language to what he wrote in his Examiner op-ed:
“I believe life begins at conception. My whole life has been about saving lives. As a heart surgeon, I have held a beating heart in my hand, and I understand how precious life is — it’s why I am pro-life. As the senator for Pennsylvania, I will vote to protect the sanctity of life and the unborn.”
Oz’s new op-ed says all the right things — but how are we to believe that he has truly changed his position so drastically in the past three years?
Voters deserve a real explanation as to what changed Oz’s mind on the abortion question, rather than just a pronouncement of what they want to hear.