GOP candidates in swing districts all threaten abortion rights. Kean and DeGroot are dishonest as well | Editorial

Published: Oct. 13, 2022

The Republicans running for Congress in our four swing districts know that it’s deeply unpopular to stand between a woman and her right to an abortion, and to criminally punish anyone who tries to help her get one.

So they are trying to weasel their way around this, throwing dust into our eyes and pretending to be moderates on abortion, even calling themselves pro-choice.

Time to blow away that smoke and expose them, because voters deserve the plain truth: All of these men would allow states to deny this fundamental right to 1 in 3 women who have already lost abortion access in America.

You can’t call yourself pro-choice if you allow a ban on abortions in one third of the country, any more than you can say you believe in free speech while allowing one third of the country to shut down newspapers and TV stations.

Tom Kean Jr., Paul DeGroot, Bob Healey and Frank Pallotta would each stand back and let Republican-controlled state legislatures ban abortion with no exceptions, even for rape and incest, because they say this is a question for states, not the federal government. How convenient.

That is not moderate. It is extremist. And it has extreme consequences for women in America.

To suggest that these women can just flee their home states is absurd; what red states have created is a two-tiered health care system: Abortions for those with means, who can travel to states like New Jersey, and forced birth for those without.

In states that ban abortion, even women who want to carry their babies to term are at risk: If they have a miscarriage, doctors may delay or deny their care out of fear that they could be accused of performing an abortion. That’s a dangerous gamble, which can lead to hemorrhaging, infections and even life-threatening sepsis.

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In other tragic cases, women who receive heartbreaking news from their doctor that the baby has a lethal abnormality will be forced to carry a dead fetus for weeks, or watch their baby suffocate to death minutes after birth, because their local government forbids them to end the pregnancy.

Even if you live in New Jersey, this could intimately affect your life. If you’re visiting family in Texas while pregnant and have a miscarriage, or if your employer opens a new office in Ohio and asks you to lead it, these bans would apply to you and your daughter too, Rep. Mikie Sherrill notes.

If you go on a business trip to Mississippi, you may not be able to fill your prescription from your doctor for contraception, because a pharmacist fearing a felony charge or loss of license worries you might use it to end a pregnancy.

“So he can print all of the T-shirts that he would like to print,” she said of her Republican challenger, DeGroot, whose campaign was handing out tees and fliers at a rally for abortion rights last weekend calling him “pro-choice.”

“He can make all the spurious statements that he would like to make. But unless and until he can get to the point where he supports the fact that abortion is a fundamental right for women’s freedom and that it is a decision between a woman and her doctor, then he is not in any world, in any interest group, in any way, shape or form, pro-choice.”

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DeGroot and Kean Jr. are the biggest impostors, flat out deceiving voters by professing to be “pro-choice.”

Kean is the most nonsensical. He has the nerve to call himself pro-choice in public, while pitching his pro-life credentials on a secret website sent to conservative voters. “Tom is a fierce defender of the sanctity of life,” it reads, “fighting every step of the way to protect the unborn from egregious abortion laws proposed in New Jersey, and will continue to do so in Congress.”

This is farcical. He claims that the issue should be handled by states, but on the secret website, he promises federal restrictions. Which is it?

And how can he call himself pro-choice when he voted as a state senator against a modest bill that would have protected the status quo in New Jersey? Why did he vote to end state funding for Planned Parenthood?

Then there’s DeGroot, who was declaring himself a “Pro-Choice GOP candidate” at the march for abortion rights in Montclair on Saturday.

Again, farcical. DeGroot said at a news conference that he believes abortion is “a states’ rights issue and that’s it.” Maybe he can explain to a woman in Texas or Alabama that he’s pro-choice, while he sits on his hands in Congress and gives them no help.

DeGroot tried to soften the edges of this by offering his personal belief that states should include exceptions for rape, incest and medical danger for the mother or the unborn child, and permit abortions before about 20 weeks. Frankly, why would a woman care what he thinks, once he’s declared that this is not the business of Congress?

“I’m not enforcing it on other states,” he concedes.

“I think he’s been less than honest,” said Susan van Inwegen, a nurse and mother of two women in their childbearing years, who attended the rally. And what does an exception for medical danger even mean, she wondered aloud.

Would your daughter need to have a 90 percent chance of dying to be allowed an abortion? What about a 40 percent chance? “If a woman dies, isn’t it on you?” she asked. “There are women who are going to die.”

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At least Frank Pallotta and Bob Healey are not trying to pass themselves off as pro-choice. Both call themselves pro-life.

Like DeGroot, they have tried to soften the blow by sharing their personal beliefs that states should make exceptions for rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is in danger. And again, as with DeGroot, it doesn’t matter a bit: They would leave this to be decided by the states themselves.

States that are now working overtime to ban abortion and criminally punish anyone who tries to help women, notes Roxanne Sutocky of the Women’s Center in Cherry Hill, an abortion provider with 5 clinics in four states -- including Georgia, where abortion was just banned after the sixth week of pregnancy.

None of these Republican candidates would lift a finger to stop this, and none of them are pro-choice. So if you want to protect abortion rights, vote for their Democratic opponents.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-10-14 02:34:50 -0700