At Center Stage in Midterms: Abortion

Both parties look to capitalize on issue

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 21, 2014 9:40 AM CST

(Newser) – With the midterm elections ahead, both parties are looking to use abortion rights as a rallying issue. Republicans are hoping related state ballot initiatives will bring voters to the polls. Meanwhile, they're looking to avoid another Todd Akin "legitimate rape" embarrassment, instead emphasizing a fiscally conservative take on abortion. In Oregon, for instance, "we don’t make this a pro-life thing,” says Jeff Jimerson, who is behind a petition seeking a ballot measure that would ban state funds going to abortion. “This is a pro-taxpayer thing." Similarly, in the House, Republicans are set to focus this year on the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," the New York Times reports.

In an unusual move for a party head, the GOP's Reince Preibus will attend the March for Life in Washington this week. To avoid a scheduling clash, an RNC meeting afterward will start late and provide free shuttles between the events. For their part, Democrats are attacking opponents on women's issues, hoping to maintain momentum from the 2012 election and last year's Virginia governor's race. In North Carolina, for example, Sen. Kay Hagan will focus on the state legislature's new abortion rules. In Washington, "Republicans have turned the floor of the House into the battleground for their relentless war on women’s health care and freedoms," says Rep. Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

In this Aug. 15, 2013 photograph, an abortion rights supporter, left, argues with an abortion opponent, right, outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic in Jackson, Miss.
In this Aug. 15, 2013 photograph, an abortion rights supporter, left, argues with an abortion opponent, right, outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic in Jackson, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
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