The Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade has made the choice in the 2022 midterms starker than ever. With Roe on the verge of being overturned, U.S. Senate Republicans are already plotting behind closed doors to bring forward a national abortion ban.
The Senate must be the next line of defense for reproductive rights — and that line runs straight through New Hampshire. Within 24 hours of the news, Senator Maggie Hassan’s Republican opponents, Chuck Morse, Kevin Smith, and Don Bolduc, all came out in support of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe and roll back women’s freedom. The stakes of the election could not be more clear: in a 50-50 Senate, the last defense for women’s freedom will hinge on New Hampshire’s Senate race.
Don’t believe those who insist that the Supreme Court’s decision will not change anything for Granite Staters. We have already seen New Hampshire Republicans forsake our state’s pro-choice history. Last year, New Hampshire Republicans defunded Planned Parenthood and passed an abortion ban, created by Chuck Morse, with no exceptions for rape or incest, and which imposed criminal penalties for doctors. And now, Mitch McConnell has made clear that Republicans may pass a nationwide abortion ban once Roe is overturned — and the Republican Senate candidates would go right along with him.
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The New Hampshire Republican Senate candidates are not shy about their goals of criminalizing abortion and undermining women’s liberty. In fact, they used the Supreme Court draft decision as an opportunity to brag about their long anti-choice records and confirm their support for ending Roe. Chuck Morse, the “key architect” of New Hampshire’s abortion ban, boasted how “proud” he was of his anti-choice record this week and made it clear that he supported the Supreme Court’s draft decision to overturn Roe. Don Bolduc — who has called for defunding Planned Parenthood for years — praised the draft decision as well. If there’s any doubt to what these Republican candidates would do if elected, one only has to listen to Kevin Smith. Smith — who was also a lobbyist for the anti-choice group Cornerstone Action — sent a fundraising text to his supporters saying that “we are SO close to ending abortion once and for all.”
This kind of anti-choice extremism might have been hard to imagine in New Hampshire even a few years ago. But an abortion ban was unimaginable too and so was overturning Roe. Granite Staters must be clear eyed about the threats to the freedom of New Hampshire women. Chuck Morse, Kevin Smith, and Don Bolduc have spent their careers promising to pass legislation to criminalize abortion, strip away women’s health care, and systematically dismantle women’s liberty. If they are elected — and deliver Mitch McConnell the Senate Majority — they would push for legislation that would even go beyond the Texas abortion ban. They would vote for Senate Republicans’ effort to ban abortions everywhere in all cases, with no exception for rape, or incest. They would punish women by defunding Planned Parenthood and taking away their access to reproductive health care. For years, Roe was the guardrail against the extremist agendas of Republicans like Morse, Smith and Bolduc. If Roe overturned, Granite Staters have every reason to believe these Republican candidates would seek to make good on their promises. We can simply no longer afford to regard their extreme agenda as a long shot.
The choice in this year's midterms could not be more clear. The Republican candidates have spent their careers doing everything they can to dismantle women’s freedom, control women’s bodies, and criminalize abortion. Senator Hassan, meanwhile, has fought for New Hampshire women, and backed the Women’s Health Protection Act to make Roe the law of the land. With women’s liberty under siege, it is more urgent than ever that Granite Staters re-elect a fighter like Maggie Hassan to the Senate. The most basic freedoms of New Hampshire women — to control their own bodies and their own futures — depends on us doing so.
Shanika Amarakoon is chair of the Portsmouth Democrats.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Opinion: Maggie Hassan will defend reproductive rights in the Senate