A flood of laws banning abortions in Republican-run states has handed Democrats a political weapon heading into next year's elections, helping them paint the GOP as extreme and court centrist voters who could decide congressional races in swing states, members of both parties say, per the AP. The Alabama law outlawing virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, is the strictest so far. Besides animating Democrats, the law has prompted President Donald Trump, other Republican leaders and lawmakers seeking reelection next year to distance themselves from the measure. Their reaction underscores that Republicans have risked overplaying their hand with severe state laws that they hope will strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion. Among the reactions:
- The Alabama law is "a loser for Republican candidates in Colorado, without question, and in many other swing parts of the country, because it's extreme," David Flaherty, a Colorado-based Republican consultant who's worked on congressional races around the country.
- "It's only going to widen the gender gap." Brian Fitzpatrick, a Vanderbilt Law School professor and former aide to Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there are many "women, moderate women who are going to be scared" that the right to choose will be taken from them.
- GOP Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine, both seeking reelection next year, said the Alabama ban goes too far by eliminating exceptions for pregnancies involving rape or incest.
- Democrats see the statutes as a way to weave a broader message about Republicans. "You use it as an example of what they do when they're unchecked," said Rep. A. Donald McEachin, D-Va. "I think it drives moderate Republicans away from their party."
- But some Republicans say the Democratic drive will have minimal impact because the abortion issue drives relatively few voters from each party. Others say GOP candidates should accuse Democrats of extremism by opposing bills restricting abortions late in pregnancy and, if they wish, cite their support for exempting rape and incest victims.
(See what Pope Francis has to say about abortion