By Annmarie Timmins
Opposition to the state’s new 24-week abortion ban, which mandates ultrasounds and carries criminal penalties for doctors who violate it, grew by 10 percentage points in a month, according to the UNH Survey Center’s most recent Granite State Poll.
The ban has gotten significantly more attention in the last four weeks, and new wording in the July poll made clear the law has no exceptions for rape, incest, or a fetus unable to survive on its own. A separate question in the July poll asked respondents for the first time about the law’s requirement that all women get an ultrasound before abortion at any point in pregnancy, a mandate the medical community has vehemently opposed. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they opposed that ultrasound requirement; 31 percent said they favored it.
The most recent Granite State Poll results, released Monday, showed opposition to the ban in the budget Sununu signed grew from 46 percent in June to 56 percent in July. Support for the ban fell from 43 percent to 33 percent between polls.
Sununu and Republicans will benefit if abortion is pushed aside as a key campaign issue by COVID-19, the economy, or the big-dollar infrastructure bills. That scenario is hard to imagine in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s acceptance of a Mississippi abortion case that could restrict or upend abortion rights currently protected by Roe v. Wade. If the court shifts decisions about abortion to the states, Republicans like Sununu will no longer be able to side-step abortion by declaring it a federal issue, Scala said. And Republicans are less unified than Democrats in their positions on abortion.
“I’ve never seen it be a very good thing when Republicans are running in elections when quote-unquote social issues are on the front burner,” he said. “It does tend to divide them.”
“Granite Staters are furious that Gov. Sununu signed into law an abortion ban and ultrasound mandate that interfere with the right to make one’s own decisions in consultation with their families and providers,” said Liz Canada, advocacy manager for the Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire Action Fund. “New Hampshire has a long bipartisan tradition of supporting reproductive freedom, and Gov. Sununu’s ban is a direct attack on our state’s core values.”
Challenging Hassan, who never supported abortion restrictions as governor or U.S. senator, would force an abortion debate between two candidates who identify as pro-choice but one of whom has passed an abortion ban.
Sununu’s office did not return a request for comment.
Read more at the New Hampshire Bulletin.