As NH Republicans gear up for primary, Democrats work to put abortion rights front and center in campaign

As NH Republicans gear up for primary, Democrats work to put abortion rights front and center in campaign
As NH Republicans gear up for primary, Democrats work to put abortion rights front and center in campaign

With meaningful Democratic primaries virtually non-existent in New Hampshire this primary season, volatile Republican nomination contests have filled the state’s political landscape for months. But with less than two weeks until primary day, the state’s top Democratic candidates are working to refocus voters’ attention on abortion rights, an issue they see as critical to voters and the success of their party in November.

This push follows Dobbs v. Jackson of the United States Supreme Court, which struck down a constitutional right to abortion. It also coincides with historic political tensions over abortion and contraception policies at Concord.

Last year, Republicans in the Legislature banned most abortions after 24 weeks, the first major state abortion ban in decades.

At the Executive Council table, meanwhile, Republicans have blocked abortion providers from performing family planning contracts that have been awarded without much controversy for years.

In separate appearances in Concord and Manchester this week, Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan and Representative Chris Pappas, who both face tight re-election battles this fall, said electing Democrats is the way to guarantee the right to abortion and access to health care. including contraception, STD and cancer screenings are not further eroded. Both have raised the specter of a national abortion ban if Republicans take control of Congress.

“No matter who my opponent is, a woman’s right to be a full and equal citizen in our democracy will be on the ballot,” Hassan said while campaigning at the Equality Health Center in Concord. Wednesday.

“We need to have protections on the books nationwide that end this madness of policies that restrict individual rights and jeopardize individual health and well-being. People will die as a result of this Supreme Court ruling,” Pappas said at Stark Park in Manchester on the same day.

Advocacy for abortion rights has animated New Hampshire Democrats for years, whether Republicans in Concord or Washington have threatened them in any significant way. But with the Dobbs decision and a New Hampshire state House led by GOP majorities that have tightened state abortion policies, Democrats believe the issue has new power this year.

“Absolutely, this is a priority for all of my constituents,” said State Senator Becky Whitley of Hopkinton, who joined Hassan at Concord.

A recent survey by St. Anselm College can confirm this: it showed that 71% of likely voters surveyed identified themselves as pro-choice, and that 60% of them said the issue of abortion would be “extremely or very important to determine their votes.

To that end, the Democratic campaigns scour the comments and records of Republican candidates daily for evidence to support their claim that new abortion restrictions would be immanent if Republicans carry the New Hampshire federal races. .

“RACE TO THE BOTTOM: ‘GOP Senate candidates battle over who is more anti-choice,’ read a recent subject line of an email from the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

As they campaign across the state these days, Republicans are primarily focused on tax issues.

“This race is about the economy and inflation,” GOP Senate nominee Chuck Morse said last week.

But Morse, who was recently endorsed by Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, a leading national anti-abortion group, also talks about his role in getting the 24-week abortion ban passed by the US. ‘State.

“For the first time in 50 years, we’ve done something about abortion in New Hampshire,” Morse noted during a recent debate.

Meanwhile, for openly “pro-choice” Republican politicians, a type once common but now rare here, the politics of this moment can be difficult to navigate.

Governor Chris Sununu is a good example. He said in 2020 that he saw no need for new abortion laws; six months later, he signed off on the 24-week ban, calling it “common sense”. With her support, the lamakers then added new exceptions to allow abortion after 24 weeks in cases of fatal fetal abnormalities, but they rejected Sununu’s request to also allow exceptions in cases of rape or incest. .

Sununu also encountered a roadblock on family planning. Over the past year, Republican executive advisers have repeatedly voted against funding reproductive health care centers that provide cancer screenings, STD tests and treatments, and contraceptives to more than 17,000 granite staters.

“It’s a pro-choice state,” said Democratic Councilman Cinde Warmignton, as she campaigned alongside Pappas in reference to the abortion policy at the council table. “These advisers do not reflect the values ​​of our state.”

But in GOP primaries where multiple candidates are vying for attention, abortion is a place where candidates try to establish their conservative values ​​with voters. This goes even for candidates who claim to be pro-choice.

Gail Huff Brown, who is running for the 1st Congressional District, airs a campaign ad talking about her childbirth experience 20 weeks into her pregnancy.

“The doctor looked me in the eye and said, ‘Who are we going to save?’ I chose my unborn child,” Huff Brown says in the ad. :But in this agonizing moment, I was comforted to know that I had a choice.

The issue also plays out in odd ways in the Republican primary in the 2nd congressional district, where Keene Mayor George Hansel identifies as pro-choice. Hansel says he would not vote for bills creating national limits on abortion if elected. But in a radio debate this week, Hansel also said he agreed with the Executive Council’s decision to counter Sununu and reject the family planning contracts.

“I’m not in favor of using taxpayers’ money for organizations that perform abortions,” Hansel said.

Hansel then added that he had gone against main rival Bob Burns, calling himself the only pro-life candidate in the running to face incumbent Democrat Annie Kuster.

“You can hear that we are all in favor of life. It comes down to a question of legality and other things,” Hansel said.

Democrats, including Kuster, who worked as a lobbyist for the National Abortion Rights League before winning the congressional election a decade ago, will be sure to remind voters of Hansel’s words should he win the Republican primary in the most liberal congressional district in the state.

Pappas, who may face the toughest re-election bid of any leading Democratic incumbent, has been on the ballot in every state election since 2002. He has assaulted that abortion plays a role in every campaign season here, but said with Roe upset, he’s confident voters understand the stakes are high.

“We don’t have a safety net anymore,” Pappas said in Manchester. “The November election will have the greatest impact on reproductive rights in this nation’s history.”

. so republicans are ready for primary democrats strive place right abortion center campaign

. Republicans gear primary Democrats work put abortion rights front center campaign

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