GOP governor who ran on being 'pro-choice' keeps attacking abortion


New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has worked to undermine reproductive choice since his last election.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu calls himself a "pro-choice" Republican. But he has repeatedly undermined abortion rights while in office.

Sununu, who is currently seeking a third two-year term, proclaimed himself an abortion rights supporter in both his 2016 and his 2018 campaigns.

"I'm pro-choice. I support Roe v. Wade," he told Manchester, New Hampshire, station WMUR in July 2018 after he was criticized for supporting Donald Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. ""As a governor, I don't judge any single judge on a single-issue litmus test."

The president of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Sabrina Dunlap, told WMUR:"It is contradictory to call yourself pro-choice and support a nominee to the Supreme Court who poses the biggest threat to reproductive rights in a generation."

Kavanaugh voted with the minority in June to uphold a Louisiana abortion restriction that was struck down by the court as unconstitutional in Medical Services v. Russo.

As recently as last year, his spokesperson told New Hampshire Public Radio that Sununu supported the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that guaranteed abortion rights.

But last month, Sununu approved a five-figure pandemic emergency grant for a crisis pregnancy center, an anti-abortion group that misleads and manipulates pregnant women and gender minorities to prevent them from choosing abortion.

On its website, the so-called crisis center, Options for Women, falsely claims that "up to 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage." It owns another facility that says choosing abortion causes major psychological damage — an oft-used lie popular with anti-abortion activists.

According to Sununu's Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery, Options for Women in Rochester, New Hampshire, was awarded $64,694.25 in "Non-Profit Emergency Relief Funds." The "Frequently Asked Questions" document on the office's website indicates that a number of outside groups made recommendations for the grants, which were submitted to the governor "for final approval."

Neither Options for Women nor Sununu immediately responded to inquiries for this story.

Last month, Sununu vetoed a bill that would have required all commercial health insurance plans to cover abortion services if they cover other maternity costs.

"This bill would risk the state's federal health care funding in the middle of a pandemic, take away the freedom of choice for those employees and employers who object to being forced to partake in or to provide abortion services, and expose the state to expensive litigation," Sununu said in his veto message.

Six states — California, Illinois, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Washington — require that private insurance plans include coverage of abortions.

On Tuesday, New Hampshire Democrats selected state Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes as their nominee to challenge Sununu in November.

In his primary victory speech, Feltes said the state deserves "a governor who is actually pro-choice, not one who just says he is around election time."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.