In his campaign for New Hampshire governor, progressive Democrat Steve Marchand has staked out the most extreme pro-choice position possible: Taxpayer-funded abortions, no restrictions, including for underage girls. And without their parents’ knowledge or consent. That’s certainly “progressive.” But is it good politics?
Attempting to tie his campaign to concerns among Democrats about Trump’s coming Supreme Court pick, Marchand has released his abortion policy he calls “Expanding Abortion Rights In The Age Of Trump.” His plan calls for:
- Taxpayer funding of abortions;
- Ending the parental notification requirement for underage women;
- Ending the ban on partial-birth abortion.
“The state shall not deny or interfere with a woman’s fundamental right to choose or refuse to have an abortion,” the plan states.
If it sounds like Marchand supports the right to a legal abortion at any point during a pregnancy for any reason, he does. A campaign spokesperson confirmed that this is Marchand’s position with NHJournal via email.
In short, there is no way his Democratic primary opponent, Molly Kelly, can take a more pro-choice position that Marchand’s, despite that fact that she has been endorsed by the abortion-activism group Emily’s List.
It’s also an interesting strategy for the general election in November.
Based on polling, New Hampshire would be viewed as a pro-choice state. In 2013, Pew Research asked Granite Staters if abortion “should be legal or illegal in most cases,” and 66 percent said “legal”–one of the highest percentages of any state in the country.
However, the question of whether abortions should be legal in general is a broad one, and while Americans have consistently supported abortions in the first trimester, support for late-term and “partial-birth” abortion is far lower. While polling on New Hampshire on this specific aspect of abortion policy is hard to find, Gallup has consistently found that fewer than a third of Americans support Marchand’s “abortion on demand” policy. More than half support some restrictions on abortion and another 20 percent support an outright ban.
In fact, as of May of this year, Americans are evenly split on whether they consider themselves pro-life or pro-choice at 48 percent. And 81 percent of all Americans reject Marchand’s policy of allowing abortion in the third trimester.
Marchand’s position is so far to the Left that even Hillary Clinton rejected it during the 2016 campaign. Indeed, running for governor on the platform that a 14-year-old girl should get an abortion in the third trimester without her parents’ consent–and New Hampshire’s Catholic taxpayers should have to pay for it–seems a bit outside the political mainstream.
However, it’s unlikely that Emily’s-List-backed Molly Kelly will take a more restrictionist position than her primary opponent. Look for her to stake out a similar policy next week.
Will the coming SCOTUS debate make abortion a central issue in the New Hampshire governor’s race?
With poll numbers like these, Democrats better hope not.