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More than half the states in America have passed or considered new laws on abortion this year, most restricting it but some moving to protect abortion rights.
Not surprisingly, abortion has become a flashpoint in the 9th District Congressional race between Republican Dan Bishop and Democrat Dan McCready. The election is Sept. 10.
An online ad for Bishop suggests McCready is “fighting to legalize late-term abortion, even infanticide.” McCready calls that a red herring.
With abortion in the news — and Planned Parenthood scheduled to open a new Charlotte clinic in June — here’s where the candidates stand on the divisive issue.
▪ Roe v Wade. McCready supports the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalizes abortion. Bishop does not.
“I would think that in future years Roe v. Wade will be seen as similar to the Dred Scott decision,” Bishop told the Observer, referring to the long-discredited 1857 decision that African Americans could not be citizens.
▪ The Alabama law. This year Alabama lawmakers passed a law widely regarded as the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban. It allows an exception for the life of the mother but not for victims of rape or incest. States such as Georgia and Missouri also have passed new restrictions.
McCready calls them unconstitutional. “Roe v Wade is the law of the land,” he said.
Asked if there are restrictions he could support, he said, “I’m opposed to partial-birth abortion. Broadly speaking, I’m a father of four. I’m a person of faith. The thought of any abortion is tragic to me. But I do not think it’s the government’s job to get between a woman and her doctor.”
Bishop said the new laws “reflect an evolving consensus against abortion.” He would support a law such as Alabama’s.
“I think it’s wrong to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest. ... just as it would be wrong to take the life of a child born to incest,” he said. “But I would support legislation that includes those exceptions.”
▪ Protecting abortion rights. Several states have passed law protecting access to abortion. Some Democratic presidential candidates want Congress to codify Roe into law in case the Supreme Court overturns it.
Bishop opposes such a move by Congress. McCready said he’s “open to that discussion” but believes it’s ultimately the court’s responsibility.
“This has been the job of the Supreme Court and Roe v Wade has been the law of the land,” he said. “And it’s the Supreme Court’s responsibility to uphold the law.”
▪ North Carolina’s “Born Alive” bill. The N.C. has scheduled a Wednesday vote to try to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that would punish doctors who kill a newborn that survived an abortion attempt. Cooper has called it “needless legislation” and “unnecessary interference” between a woman and her doctor.
Bishop, a state senator, voted to override the governor’s veto. McCready believes the law is unnecessary.
Supporters of the bill suggested it would prevent infanticide. Bishop and other Republicans have said the New York law and a Virginia proposal also would allow babies to be killed after a botched abortion.
“Dan Bishop can spend all his time talking about infanticide,” McCready said. “But nobody supports that in North Carolina. It’s just not happening.”