New Hampshire U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown worked to distance himself from a hardline “personhood” position this week, putting him at odds with the state’s Republican Party and positions he has taken in his political past.
At its convention last week, the Granite State’s Republican Party redefined its stance on abortion, making it more conservative, according to the New Hampshire Journal. The party’s new platform, which will be adopted for the next election cycle, now reads:
Support the pre-born child’s fundamental right to life and personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment, and implement all Constitutional and legal protections.
The current platform, outlined on the party’s website, says:
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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We believe that life is sacred, from conception to natural death.
New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who is up four points in the polls in her contest with Brown, was quick to criticize both Brown and the state’s GOP for its position.
“The message from Scott Brown and his Republican Party is disturbing, alarming and clear,” Shaheen said in a statement. “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.”
But Brown backed away from the party’s position. A campaign aide said that Brown, who was unseated as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts in 2012, “is pro-choice and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”
Brown’s campaign has hit back against critics who tie him to the New Hampshire Republican Party’s hardline stance on abortion, or his record of co-sponsoring legislation that would restrict a woman’s access to abortion care. In an interview with a local reporter this week, when he was asked about a 24-hour waiting period bill he co-sponsored, called the “Women’s Right to Know Act,” Brown said that he wasn’t “familiar with the specific bill that you’re referring to.
When the reporter rephrased the question, Brown repeated that he wasn’t familiar with the legislation.
Brown is not the only Republican candidate trying to distance themselves from anti-choice positions. Cory Gardner, who is running for U.S. Senate in Colorado, said earlier this year that he no longer supports “personhood” legislation. Gardner has since advocated for over-the-counter access to birth control, a position that women’s rights advocates are wary of.