Fact Check: Did Stacey Abrams Suggest Abortions Can Ease Inflation?

Republicans are targeting Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams for connecting abortion to inflation during an MSNBC interview, but some experts believe Abrams' comments were taken out of context.

Abrams is in a race against incumbent Republican Brian Kemp to win the Georgia governor's seat. With less than three weeks until the November 8 midterm elections, polls show conflicting information, with some saying that Kemp leads Abrams by 10 percentage points and others indicating a much closer race.

Abrams has accused Republicans of taking her statements out of context in the past, and a spokesperson from her campaign told Newsweek that Republicans are doing so again.

Stacey Abrams Speaks During Her Campaign
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks at a campaign event as early voting begins on October 18 in Jonesboro, Georgia. Republicans are targeting Abrams for relating the economy and abortion in an MSNBC interview. Megan Varner/Getty Images

The Claim

"Stacey Abrams just said more abortions will help solve the inflation problem. You can't make this up," Dan O'Donnell, host of The Dan O'Donnell Show, tweeted Wednesday morning after the MSNBC segment.

The tweet has been liked more than 2,300 times and retweeted nearly 1,000 times.

The Facts

During the segment, MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle asked Abrams what she could do as governor to alleviate Georgia voters' concerns about issues such as rising costs for groceries. He also said that abortion doesn't rise to the same level of importance as inflation for voters.

Abrams responded by saying the economy is connected to a woman's decision to have a child.

"But let's be clear. Having children is why you're worried about your price for gas, it's why you're concerned about how much food costs," Abrams said. "For women, this is not a reductive issue. You can't divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child. It's important for us to have both conversations.

"We don't have the luxury of reducing it or separating them out," she added. "But we also have to talk about what a governor can do: A governor can address housing prices. A governor can address the cost of education. A governor can put money in the pockets of everyday hardworking Georgians instead of giving tax cuts to the wealthy."

Abrams has campaigned with a strong stance in favor of abortion rights. Her beliefs are a stark contrast to Kemp's, who passed a bill banning abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat in 2019.

"Stacey Abrams wants to make sure women are able to make their own health care decisions on an issue that is deeply personal and can have strong economic implications. Brian Kemp wants to ban abortion even in the case of rape and incest," Abrams' campaign spokesperson Alex Floyd told Newsweek in an emailed statement.

Republicans were quick to condemn Abrams for her comments and some tweeted their thoughts.

Kayleigh McEnany, who served as the White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump, retweeted a tweet from RNC Research, which shared the segment.

"This is truly sick! Unbelievable...," McEnany tweeted about Abrams' comments.

Two political experts told Newsweek that politicians often take comments from the opposing party out of context to use as warfare during an election. Thomas Hollihan, a media and politics professor at the University of Southern California, told Newsweek that "gotcha moments" can influence an election, especially when some voters are still undecided.

"We have [voters] who are less partisan and vote in some races and not in others," Hollihan said. "These voters are quite candidly people who decide close races. Because they are not closely following politics, 'gotcha moments' can be things that are easily memorable to them. They are more easily motivated to vote against a candidate than to vote for a candidate.

"Playing 'gotcha' politics increases negative suspicions about someone, therefore it's a very common strategy," Hollihan added. "That's why debates these days tend to focus on gaffs rather than politics."

Hollihan said he believes Abrams didn't intend to imply abortion could solve inflation. Rather, he said she implied women without resources may take the economy into consideration when deciding to have a child.

University of New Hampshire Professor Emeritus Bruce Mallory told Newsweek that twisting an opponent's words is a common debate technique.

Mallory co-founded New Hampshire Listens, which is part of UNH.

"It's not unusual to hear what someone says through the lens of your own ideology, your own biases, your own experiences," Mallory said. "Reframing of what someone else says in order to support your side of the argument is part of human behavior."

The Ruling

Misleading Material

Misleading Material.

While it's true that Abrams said having a child is directly related to worries about the economy, she didn't say that abortion could solve inflation as Republicans suggested or implied in captions to the video. Picking out the soundbite from the wider point about a direct connection between one's economic well-being and family planning, which Abrams was trying to make, may be politically useful, but also misleading.


Misleading Material: The claim is based on media that has been altered from its original form—such as an edited video or image—and is now misleading, misrepresentative, or deceptive, either intentionally or unintentionally.
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