CONCORD — The nation’s most influential abortion rights organization says the “first step” in winning Democratic control of the U.S. Senate this fall starts with reelecting U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
A memo from Emily’s List included a sobering forecast for the 2020 election, despite polls that have shown Shaheen ahead of her two Republican rivals, Wolfeboro trial lawyer Bryant “Corky” Messner and retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc of Laconia.
“Reelecting Jeanne Shaheen won’t be easy. Races in New Hampshire are always close,” the memo stated. “In 2016, Senator Maggie Hassan won by just 1,017 votes and both Republicans running against Shaheen have made it clear that they will work to take away abortion rights.”
The memo, obtained by the Union Leader, came days after the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 to strike down a Louisiana state law that abortion rights organizations said was aimed at reducing reproductive rights for women in that state.
“That decision was too close, and it reminds us that the only way to protect abortion access is by electing a Democratic majority in the Senate who will protect a woman’s right to choose,” the Emily’s List memo said. “The first step in winning back the Senate is by reelecting champions of women’s health care like Senator Jeanne Shaheen.”
Messner opposes abortion “at any time,” without exceptions. He has campaigned on his support for Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, both of whom dissented with the recent decision.
Bolduc is similarly opposed to abortion access. He has called to defund Planned Parenthood and has campaigned with anti-abortion rights groups dedicated to making abortion illegal.
Both Messner and Bolduc have endorsed legislation that could send doctors to prison for providing legal, medically necessary abortions.
They also backed repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which guaranteed contraceptive coverage and other health care coverage protections for women.
As governor, Jeanne Shaheen repealed a law that made abortion a felony and signed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover birth control.
In the Senate, she authored and steered to passage the “Shaheen Amendment” to provide women in the military who are survivors of rape or incest with health insurance coverage for abortion, so they have the same coverage as non-military federal employees.
Before she was elected first as a state senator, Shaheen was an organizer with the National Abortion Rights Action League in New Hampshire.
“There is no doubt this race will be a top target for Republicans trying to pick up a seat in the Senate. A longtime champion of reproductive freedom and the first woman in American history to be elected governor and U.S. senator, EMILY’s List is proud to have stood with Jeanne Shaheen since her first run for governor in 1996,” the memo stated.