North Dakota Congressman Rick Berg’s 2007 vote to make an abortion a crime with it a life sentence hasn’t become a key campaign talking point. To Berg, however, that makes sense. According to him, most of state’s residents would agree with him on that vote.
Berg’s campaign had a different take on why Heitkamp hasn’t jumped on the issue.
Spokesman Chris Van Guilder said Heitkamp’s liberal views “are opposite of those held by the majority of North Dakotans, and she continues to make every effort to avoid those ties here in North Dakota.”
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He criticized Heitkamp for campaigning with what he called “radical pro-abortion groups” Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List, the latter of which is dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women.
Mark Jendrysik, a political science professor at the University of North Dakota, said “there’s no particular advantage” for Heitkamp, a former attorney general, to bring up abortion in a conservative state with well-organized anti-abortion forces.
“You’re not going to get much traction, I think, screaming pro-choice,” he said.
The state of North Dakota has become one of the more hostile when it comes to a woman’s right to choose, and only one clinic is left providing abortions.
However, an attempt to pass a bill that would have granted fertilized eggs legal rights was bypassed in the Senate last year despite overwhelming support in the House, underscoring that perhaps some state legislators, concerned about their own re-election prospects, may have felt that such a stringent abortion ban could have them facing blow back from their constituents.
Berg led Heitkamp by nine points in the last poll, which was conducted in early July.