NARAL Pro-Choice America, a national organization that supports expanding access to women’s health services, recently targeted the anti-abortion records of Republican Govs. Sam Brownback (KS), Rick Scott (FL) and Scott Walker (WS). Campaign mailers that circulated on Monday described the trio as obsessed lawmakers who led crusades against reproductive rights rather than focusing on issues affecting their constituents. The six-figure mail campaign included photos of the governors with the word “Abortion” emblazoned across their brains in bold black letters.
“Seven in 10 voters support a woman’s right to choose and yet, despite the longstanding need for attention to the economic conditions in all three of these states, these Governors have spent a substantial part of their terms figuring out how to deny women access to vital health care,” Sasha Bruce, the group’s senior vice president for strategy and campaigns, told the Huffington Post. “We know the more voters learn not only about their extreme positions but, equally as important, also their misplaced priorities they are less likely to support them.”
As the campaign mailers show, the trio of gubernatorial lawmakers has strongly opposed laws that protect a woman’s right to choose if she wants an abortion. In June, Scott signed 94 bills into law, including one that shortened the time frame for abortions by two weeks. The legislation known as House Bill 1047 banned abortions at 23 weeks of gestation. Last year, Walker signed a bill banning doctors that didn’t have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing abortions. Under the law, women would also have to undergo an ultrasound beforehand.
In 2012, Brownback signed an anti-abortion bill that would exempt doctors from medical malpractice suits if they withhold information in an effort to prevent an abortion. The sweeping legislation would also require women to hear the fetus’ heart and take away tax credits from abortion providers and eliminate deductions for the purchase of abortion-related insurance coverage. In what some considered a bizarre portion of the Kansas measure, doctors would also be required to tell women about the risks of breast cancer associated with abortions, a connection that medical experts say doesn’t exist.
Similar battles for reproductive rights are unfolding in other states: 90 percent of Texas’ abortion clinics face closure after the passage of restrictions that criminalizes abortion after 20 weeks and imposes harsh regulations on abortion providers. A law that passed in North Carolina earlier this year requires clinics to meet the same standards as surgical centers. It also allows healthcare providers to deny abortion care on religious grounds.
While it has yet to be seen whether the six-figure campaign will have any impact, there’s still some cause for worry among members of Brown, Scott, and Walker’s campaign teams. Last year, NARAL and Planned Parenthood issued a similar attack against Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, another staunch opponent of reproductive rights. That fall, women came out for McCauliffe by a margin of nine percentage points, allowing him to clinich victory over Cuccinelli.