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ICYMI: Bloomberg: Abortion Rights Hitting Midterm Stage As Democrats Push On Issue

The threat to abortion rights will be a major theme for Democrats in midterm election campaigns, as Congress weighs in with legislation and candidates seize on the issue to rally key constituencies, particularly women. Democrats say abortion could be a decisive issue in Senate races in New Hampshire, Nevada, and beyond that will decide which party controls the chamber. Opposition to abortion has helped Republicans turn out social conservative voters for 50 years, but Democrats hope the shoe will be on the other foot in next year’s elections. They see a growing backlash after the elevation of three Donald Trump-appointed justices to the Supreme Court and the court’s recent refusal to block a Texas law that prohibits abortion after six weeks, effectively banning the procedure. The controversy is already being highlighted by a progressive group’s seven-figure ad buy in the Granite State, where Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) is hammering her possible opponent, Gov. Chris Sununu (R), for taking action to curb abortion rights. “New Hampshire has seen unprecedented threats to reproductive health care over the past few months, with the governor signing a budget that includes an abortion ban and mandatory ultrasounds and the Executive Council defunding Planned Parenthood,” Hassan said in an email in which she pledged to fight for abortion rights. Even though Sununu says that he, like Hassan, supports abortion rights, Democrats hope for a race that focuses on the governor’s recent actions restricting them. Their message: Senators are needed to confirm judges that will protect women’s rights. TV and digital ads that began running in the state on Sept. 23 are sponsored by a nonprofit group called Amplify New Hampshire. The ads target Sununu, who hasn’t said whether he will run for the Senate or for re-election, for signing the budget law in July that bans almost all abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Republicans took control the New Hampshire legislature last year and moved quickly to pass anti-abortion-rights legislation, even though most voters in the state don’t support it, said state Sen. Becky Whitley, a Democrat who was involved in the state legislative debate. The state Executive Council, an elected board that approves state contracts of $10,000 or more, also voted this month to cut off contracts for Planned Parenthood clinics providing abortions, though Sununu said he opposed the move. Protecting access to abortions “has been a bipartisan issue” for New Hampshire voters, Whitley said in a phone interview, noting that the state motto is “Live Free or Die.” The issue has been a key to Democrats winning nearly all federal elections over the last decade, she said, even as Republicans remained strong at the state level.


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