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Texas Republican U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul Thinks Abortion Is a ‘D.C. Beltway Bubble Thing’

Protesters marched through Dallas after the Supreme Court decision this summer.
Protesters marched through Dallas after the Supreme Court decision this summer. Kate Pezzulli
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican representing Texas’ 10th congressional district, went on Fox Friday to claim that abortion isn’t an issue most voters care about.

When Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo asked McCaul about the importance of the abortion debate ahead of the upcoming midterm elections, he gave a reply that caught a few people's attention.

“It’s just not an issue that really comes up a lot,” McCaul replied. “I think that’s more of a D.C. beltway bubble thing, and, you know, that’s really all the Democrats seem to have to talk about.”

He went on, “We’re talking about the real issues, the kitchen-table issues that Americans really care about, and that is how much does it cost to go to the grocery store, how much does it cost to fill my tank up with gas, um, the inflation that’s going on.”
Later that same day, the Democratic National Committee’s War Room posted the clip of McCaul’s comments on Twitter. “Tell that to the millions of women who can’t make their own health care decisions, or the 10-year old rape victims who Republicans want to force to give birth,” the post read.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that codified abortion a constitutional right. After the ruling, Texas implemented a ban on the procedure.

Still, most Texans support abortion rights in all or many cases, according to a slew of recent surveys. Of 2,000 Texans surveyed in a study released by the polling firm PerryUndem earlier this month, six in ten said abortion ought to be "available in all or most cases," while only 11% backed a complete ban on the procedure.

That poll also found that abortion is “a top-tier motivating issue” among many voters, including supporters of gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke and women between the ages of 18 and 44.

In July, the Pew Research Center published a survey that found 62% of Americans thought abortion should be legal in all or most cases. More than half disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision to toss out Roe v. Wade, that poll found.

Meanwhile, Democrats have ramped up campaigning on reproductive rights, hoping the Supreme Court’s decision will motivate voters to head to the ballot box in November.

On Thursday, O’Rourke described Texas’ abortion ban as “the most extreme” in the country, writing on Twitter that it “does not represent the people of Texas.”

Earlier this week, dozens of Democratic state lawmakers sent a letter to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) demanding the release of an overdue report containing data about pregnancy-related deaths.
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Patrick Strickland is the former news editor at the Dallas Observer. He's worked as a senior reporter at Al Jazeera English. His reporting has appeared in the New York Review of Books, The Guardian, Politico EU and The New Republic, among others.

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