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 Voters don't want abortion bans, GOP governor candidates are pushing for them anyway

North Carolina Lieutenant Gov. Mark Robinson has compared abortion to murder.

By Jesse Valentine - January 24, 2024
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Abortion rights activists outside Supreme Court
Abortion rights activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on April 15, 2023. Hundreds gathered on Capitol Hill as part of a nationwide day of protest, organized by women's rights advocates and health care providers, opposing legal efforts to restrict the abortion drug mifepristone. (Photo by Alejandro Alvarez/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Multiple polls show that abortion bans are overwhelmingly unpopular with voters, but that hasn’t stopped the GOP from supporting anti-abortion extremists in key governors’ races.

Two states where this dynamic is particularly palpable are New Hampshire and North Carolina. New research from Public Policy Polling shows that 52% of North Carolina voters would prefer a governor who supports protecting abortion rights. In New Hampshire, it’s 64%.

In North Carolina, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination is Lieutenant Gov. Mark Robinson who has explicitly referred to abortion as murder and asserted that pregnant people do not have bodily autonomy.

“If I had all the power right now, let’s say I was the governor and had a willing legislature, we could pass a bill saying you can’t have an abortion in North Carolina for any reason,” Robinson said in a February 2023 interview with WSIC News. 

Despite these positions, Robinson has publicly admitted to paying for an abortion for his wife in 1989.

In New Hampshire, the leading Republican candidates for governor are former state Sen. Chuck Morse and former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte. Morse was a proponent of the 24-week abortion ban that is currently in effect in New Hampshire. Under the law, doctors who provide abortions could be imprisoned for up to seven years.

Ayotte supports keeping this ban in place. In the U.S. senate, Ayotte backed a national abortion ban.

Democrats say this mismatch between voters and Republicans on abortion issue will be a central issue on the campaign trail.

“Despite voters repeatedly rejecting anti-abortion extremism, Republican candidates for governor across the country are dead set on banning abortion – often without exceptions for rape, incest and nonviable pregnancies,” says Devon Cruz, the national press secretary for the Democratic Governors Association. “As these Republicans campaign on attacking fundamental freedoms, we look forward to holding them accountable and ensuring they won’t be able to run from their dangerous records.”

Another state where this fight will be waged is Montana. In 2022, Montana voters rejected an anti-abortoin ballot measure, but that didn’t stop Gov. Greg Gianforte from enacting a similar law a few months later.

Gianforte is up for reelection in 2024.


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