The New Hampshire Republican Party toughened its stance on abortion over the weekend, adding support for fetal "personhood" rights into its official party platform.
The party adopted new language at its annual convention on Saturday that pledges to "support pre-born child’s fundamental right to life and personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment, and implement all Constitutional and legal protections,” according to the New Hampshire Journal. The state GOP platform had already included a general promise to "support the unborn child’s fundamental right to life and implement all possible legal protections.”
Fetal personhood measures, which have been defeated in several states, would grant legal rights to zygotes from the moment of fertilization. The measures are extremely controversial because they would criminalize abortion without exceptions and could ban some forms of contraception and in vitro fertilization.
The addition of personhood language into a state GOP platform is a surprising move at a time when some Republican candidates are desperately trying to distance themselves from previous support. Even voters in Mississippi, one of the most socially conservative states, rejected a ballot measure that would have granted personhood rights to fetuses.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) slammed the GOP's new language in a statement on Monday, calling it "anti-woman."
"Women’s health issues are economic issues, because if women can’t afford the basic health services they need or if they aren't able to access reproductive health services that allow them to decide the right time in their lives to begin a family, then it puts a strain on them financially," Hassan said.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) immediately tied the GOP's newly declared support for personhood to her Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.
"The message from Scott Brown and his Republican Party is disturbing, alarming and clear: they believe they should make the decisions about birth control and health care for women in New Hampshire and around the country," Shaheen said in a statement.
Brown's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His spokeswoman, Elizabeth Guyton, told the New Hampshire Journal that Brown "is pro-choice and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”