RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a recent rising force in North Carolina Republican politics and a vocal abortion opponent, confirmed Thursday that he and his future wife decided to get an abortion more than 30 years ago.
Robinson and his wife, Yolanda, appeared in a video to address a social media post the lieutenant governor said he wrote 10 years ago — years before entering politics — but had gained attention this week.
“Before we were married and before we had kids. We had an abortion,” Robinson says in the video. “It was the hardest decision we have ever made and sadly, we made the wrong one.”
Any elected official talking about such a personal event is unusual. Robinson, who was elected the state’s first Black lieutenant governor in 2020, has spoken out ardently against abortion.
In the video, Robinson cited a “resurfaced” Facebook post “where I referenced paying for an abortion.”
Yolanda Robinson does not speak in the 76-second video, but her husband says the decision to have the abortion “has been with us ever since.”
“It’s because of this experience and our spiritual journey that we are so adamantly pro-life,” he adds. “We know what it’s like to be in that situation. We know the pain that an abortion causes.” He also talks about how their Christian faith has sustained them.
“No one is perfect, but no one is too far gone to be saved,” Robinson says.
Robinson, a favorite of national and social conservatives, has said he’s fairly certain that he’ll run for governor in 2024.
Individual Republicans praised him this week for speaking out about a difficult experience.
“How can leaders proclaim repentance to this chaotic world? This is how,” U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop of Charlotte wrote in a tweet Thursday. “A public confession many years before emerging into public life. Unblinking acknowledgement now. How refreshing.”
The state Democratic Party said Robinson’s past accentuated the need for the right to an abortion.
“Everyone needs access to abortion, even Mark Robinson,” spokesperson Rachel Stein said in a news release Wednesday.
Robinson is a former factory worker who vaulted to prominence following a gun-rights speech in Greensboro that went viral. His 2020 campaign was his first.
“There is no greater mission on earth than standing up for the most defenseless among us,” Robinson said at an anti-abortion rally in Raleigh in early 2021, according to The News Observer of Raleigh. “We cannot say that Black lives matter or all lives matter or blue lives matter until we say unborn lives matter, because that is where it all starts.”
While in office, Robinson also has attacked what he calls the “indoctrination” of children in the public schools and backed legislation that limited how teachers can discuss certain racial concepts in the classroom.
Many have criticized Robinson for statements about sex education in public schools in which he likened gay and transgender people to “filth.” Robinson has not apologized, saying his comments were critical of the reading materials — instead of an attack on the LGBTQ community — and that he could separate his religious views about sexuality from his elected position.