State abortion bans may hand Democrats a political weapon

WASHINGTON — A flood of Torah ban abortions in Republican-run states has handed Democrats a political weapon heading into next year’s elections, portion them paint the GOP as extreme and court centrist voters who could decide legislative assembly races in swing states, members of some parties say.

The Alabama law outlawing about all abortions, even in cases of rape or unlawful carnal cognition, is the strictest so far. Besides animating Democrats, the law has prompted President Donald Trump, other Republican leadership and lawmakers seeking election next year to distance themselves from the measure.

Their reaction underscores that Republicans have risked overplaying their hand with severe state Torah that they hope will prod the Supreme Court, with its ascendant conservative majority, to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion. It besides illustrates the way that those statutes are forcing the GOP to struggle over how to satisfy its core anti-abortion supporters without antagonistic the immense majority of voters antipathetic to strictly curb abortion.

The Alabama law is “a loser for Republican candidates in Colorado, without question, and in galore other swing environment of the country, because it’s extreme,” aforementioned David Flaherty, a Colorado-based Republican advisor who’s worked on legislative assembly races around the country. “It’s only going to widen the gender gap.”

Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt Law School professor and former aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, aforementioned there are galore “women, moderate women who are going to be frightened that this right that they thought they had for the last 40-some years is going to be shelved” and they will be motivated to vote.

GOP pot. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine, some seeking election next year, aforementioned the Alabama ban goes too far by eliminating exceptions for pregnancies involving rape or unlawful carnal cognition. A 2005 survey by the Guttmacher Institute, which backs abortion rights, found about 1% of women aforementioned they had abortions because of rape or unlawful carnal cognition.

Democrats see the statutes as a way to weave a broader message about Republicans.

“You use it as an example of what they do when they’re unchecked,” aforementioned Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Va., a leader of the Democratic legislative assembly Campaign Committee, House Democrats’ campaign organization. “I think it drives moderate Republicans away from their party.”

Democratic presidential contenders are competitive to lambast the Alabama law, which allows exceptions when the mother’s health is vulnerable. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., called it an “existential threat to the human rights of women,” piece former Vice President Joe Biden aforementioned GOP hopes of striking down Roe v. Wade are “pernicious and we have to stop it.”

Campaign Facebook and Twitter accounts of Democrats seeking election next year, so much as pot. Doug Jones of Alabama and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, are littered with posts attacking the harsh restrictions. “The people of Alabama merit to be on the #rightsideofhistory — not the side of extremists,” Jones tweeted.

Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Ohio have enacted or neared approval of measures blackball abortion once there’s a detectable fetal heartbeat, which can occur in the sixth week of gestation, before a woman may know she is pregnant. Missouri lawmakers approved an eight-week ban.

The federal Centers for unwellness Control and bar says that of the 638,000 abortions it tallied in 2015, about common fraction were performed inside the first eight weeks of gestation. About 1% were performed during or after the 21st week.

Spotlighting the perilous political territory Republicans are navigating, an April poll by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans support Roe v. Wade by 2-1. A Gallup poll last year found that 57% of adults who represented themselves “pro-choice” nevertheless aforementioned abortion should be legal if the gestation results from rape or unlawful carnal cognition.

The focus on the state measures has besides stolen GOP momentum on abortion. Until now, legislative assembly Republicans had spent much of this year forcing Democrats onto the defensive, goad them into block bills aimed at curb the rare abortions performed late in pregnancies and deceivingly accusative them of supporting infanticide.

“Obviously, the attention has shifted,” aforementioned Sarah Chamberlain, president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, which represents dozens of moderate GOP lawmakers. She aforementioned piece her group doesn’t think Democrats’ focus on the harsh Torah has gained traction, “We are talking about that and how it’s going to play in our districts.”

Some Republicans say the Democratic drive will have minimum impact because the abortion issue drives comparatively few voters from each party. Others say GOP candidates should accuse Democrats of political orientation by opposing bills confining abortions late in gestation and, if they wish, cite their support for exempting rape and unlawful carnal cognition victims.

Democrats have “never seen an abortion they don’t like,” aforementioned David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee.

Added Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who heads the National Republican lawgiver Committee, the Senate GOP campaign arm: “We’re not Alabama state representatives, we’re United States senators. And each of us has to make our positions known.”

Yet the Torah have generated energy among abortion-rights groups, which held more than 500 demonstrations and other events this past week. “We will power this movement into 2020. There will be political consequences,” aforementioned Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL pro-choice America.

Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., distanced themselves early last week from the Alabama statute. They were joined Wednesday by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who told The Associated Press, “My position remains unchanged for 25 years. I’m opposed to abortion except in cases of rape, unlawful carnal cognition and the life of the mother” being in jeopardy.

Associated Press writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Elana Schor contributed to this report.