New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown would prefer to talk about national security or taxes, but a decision by the state Republican Party to toughen its pro-life platform has complicated the plans of the pro-choice candidate.
At its convention on Saturday, state Republicans voted to adopt new language to its platform expressing support for a "pre-born child’s fundamental right to life and personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment," according to the New Hampshire Journal
Asked for reaction to the new language, Brown spokesman Elizabeth Guyton told Politico
that “Scott Brown is pro-choice and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”
Later in the day, Brown expressed his allegiance to the party but distanced himself from the change to the platform during an event hosted by New Hampshire Public Radio
"I'm a pro-choice, independent Republican. So I don't agree with that particular part of the platform, however, I have always felt that we are a big tent party, we have the opportunity to agree or disagree," said Brown.
The GOP party platform previously used the term "unborn," while it now states support for "the pre-born child's fundamental right to life and personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment." The amendment was initially rejected during a preliminary platform discussion in August, according to The Washington Examiner
Brown's opponent, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, reacted immediately by issuing a statement
tying the former Massachusetts senator to the party's stance on abortion.
"The message from Scott Brown and his Republican Party is disturbing, alarming and clear: they believe they should make the decisions about birth control and health care for women in New Hampshire and around the country. They are dangerously wrong, and by signing on with Tea Party extremists, they’re showing just how irresponsibly out of touch they are with the needs and rights of women," Shaheen said in a campaign statement.
Recent Granite State polls have shown Shaheen with a lead ranging from 5 to 11 points, while a CNN/Opinion Research survey had the race in a dead heat, according to RealClearPolitics
Personhood amendments have emerged as issues in several races, including the tightly-contested Iowa senate race between Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley.
In early September, Braley ran an ad
accusing Ernst of having "radical ideas" that are "wrong for Iowa," such as her support for a personhood amendment.
As a state senator, Ernst support a 2013 resolution that proposed amending Article I of the Iowa Constitution by declaring, "The inalienable right to life of every person at any stage of development shall be recognized and protected," according to the Des Moines Register
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