Democrat Raphael Warnock said he will be a stalwart supporter of abortion if elected to the Senate, prompting pushback from pro-life groups.
Warnock touted his abortion support at a Sunday debate with Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R., Ga.). The Democrat said his job as a reverend at Ebenezer Baptist Church had provided him with "an abiding respect for choice."
"I happen to think that a patient's room is too small a place for a woman, her doctor, and the U.S. government," Warnock said. "I think that's too many people in the room."
Both national and local pro-life groups criticized Warnock's support for abortion as extreme and said they plan on holding the Democratic candidate accountable. Genevieve Wilson, PAC director for Georgia Right to Life, said the group is putting its focus on voter education efforts.
"The fact that he says that his view is consistent with Christianity is a complete deception," Wilson said. "The Bible clearly talks about protecting children and respecting one another's lives. Not brutally killing pre-born children."
Loeffler accused Warnock of "[using] the Bible to justify abortion" during the debate—a criticism that resonated with other activists in the state. The Georgia Life Alliance told the Washington Free Beacon that Georgia is a state that "values life" and Warnock committed "an affront to the Gospel in every conceivable way" by supporting abortion.
"If Mr. Warnock believes what the Bible says about all life being created and ordained by God and science undeniably tells us that the human lifespan begins at the moment of fertilization, it should be impossible for him to arrive at any position other than that innocent babies should be protected by law," said Joshua Edmonds, executive director of the group.
In the run-up to Sunday's debate, the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List announced a door-knocking campaign canvassing 750,000 Georgia voters before the Jan. 5 runoff.
"Raphael Warnock once again attempted to use scripture to defend his extreme position in support of abortion on demand, up until the moment of birth, for any reason," the group said in a statement. "Senator Loeffler, by contrast, has used her platform to promote compassionate, popular pro-life legislation that upholds the dignity of life and protects women."
Warnock has touted the endorsement of Planned Parenthood and described himself as "an advocate for reproductive justice" for his entire life. Planned Parenthood's super PAC donated $220,000 to support Warnock's Senate bid. The Warnock campaign did not reply to a request for comment.
The race between Loeffler and Warnock is one of two runoff elections in Georgia set to determine control of the Senate under a Joe Biden administration. During his presidential campaign, Biden pledged to codify abortion rights into law as president. Should Warnock and fellow Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff prevail, Democrats would hold an edge with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris casting a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.