Abortion Laws Fuel Fight for Senate

Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 07:38 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Abortion is a rallying issue in U.S. Senate races around the country with candidates being pressed to say under what circumstances they would restrict legal abortions and access to contraceptives, Politico reported.

About a dozen states have sought to make it illegal to have an abortion beyond 20 weeks into pregnancy. Several states have enacted legislation granting embryos the right of "personhood" at conception.

"No matter what side you're on, you can't avoid the trouble you want to avoid," Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List,  which opposes abortion, told Politico.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is running ads that call attention to Republican candidates who have supported personhood legislation. In Colorado, for instance, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall has taken Rep. Cory Gardner to task for backing personhood amendments leading the Republican to backtrack, Politico said.

For their part, conservatives are pressing moderate Democrats involved in tight races to say where they stand on abortions after 20-weeks of pregnancy. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham demands Democrats state where they draw the line on abortion. "I think we should trumpet that" as a political issue, Graham said, according to Politico.

In North Carolina, Susan B. Anthony List is running ads lambasting Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan for supporting what it describes as painful, late-term abortions calling her too extreme for the state, Politico said.

SBA is targeting Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas. Landrieu is feeling the pressure and recently said she would "review" a GOP bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks based on the "views of constituents and medical experts," Politico reported.

Planned Parenthood is invested in backing Hagan. So far, though, their ads have downplayed abortion to talk about education.

Politicians are trying to navigate the issue. Pryor, for instance, said he is "personally opposed" to abortion but does not think a 20-week ban is constitutional. Hagan's opponent, Thom Tillis, let it be known he supports abortion in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in endangered, Politico reported.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a tough re-election battle in Kentucky against Alison Lundergan Grimes, promises that if Republicans capture the Senate he will strive to enact a federal ban on abortions beyond 20-weeks of pregnancy, Politico reported.

Some GOP candidates are enlisting women to make the case that supporting abortion does not make a politician pro-woman, ABC News reported.

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