Havenstein’s abortion stance scrutinized
“I read that article, and I said he’s toast,” said state Rep. Kathleen Souza, R-Manchester, a former long-time board member of New Hampshire Right to Life. “Pro-lifers will never support him. It would undercut everything we stand for.”
“The far-right Republicans don’t understand that winning is the most important part of an election,” said Doug Scamman, a former New Hampshire House speaker who called himself a pro-choice Republican. “If Republicans are going to win in the future, they’ve got to put that behind them.”
“It’s his first campaign mistake,” said former Gov. Stephen Merrill, who was beside Havenstein last week at his campaign kickoff. Merrill said the candidate told him he is personally pro-life and as governor would support a ban on late-term abortions and a requirement for parental notification. He said abortion can be a nuanced issue.
Havenstein campaign spokesman Henry Goodwin said the candidate has personal feelings about abortion but would govern as a pro-choice governor. Outside of reasonable restrictions, Havenstein would do nothing to affect a woman’s right to choose, Goodwin said.
“Hemingway is pro-life. It’s a clear divide,” said campaign spokesman Alicia Preston. She said Hemingway, a non-denominational, evangelical Christian, is not going to change his opinion on issues just to get elected governor.
But his campaign did not say where Havenstein stands on four abortion-related issues that went before the Legislature this year: buffer zones around abortion clinics, a fetal homicide bill, reporting requirements for abortion providers, and state licensing of abortion clinics.
According to a Granite State Poll in April 2012, 8 percent of respondents — but 17 percent of Republicans — want abortion to be illegal in all circumstances. A plurality of 45 percent supported keeping abortion legal in all circumstances.
Yet, it’s not clear how significant abortion will be in the Republican primary.
Scala said Havenstein’s pro-choice label will probably be a small plus in a general election. During the 2012 election, Democrat Maggie Hassan spent a lot of time attacking Republican Ovide Lamontagne for his stand against abortion.