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Senate nominee Don Bolduc spreads debunked anti-vaccine claims as 'women's health' issues

The New Hampshire Republican falsely blamed an increase in miscarriages on the COVID-19 vaccine.

By Josh Israel - October 10, 2022
New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc speaks during a debate, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Henniker, N.H.
New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc speaks during a debate, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Henniker, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

New Hampshire Republican Senate nominee Don Bolduc falsely claimed last week that COVID-19 vaccines have caused a massive increase in failed pregnancies, suggesting that it’s the real women’s rights issues facing voters.

While he claims to support women’s rights when it comes to debunked conspiracy theories, he is a strong opponent of a woman’s right to have an abortion.

At a town hall event in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, the retired Army brigadier general accused his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Maggie Hassan, of not caring about women’s rights and health:

How about our service women? How about the 300% increase, 300% increase in miscarriages and stillbirths since the shot? What about that? Where is Maggie Hassan fighting for women’s rights in the care of women’s health on that issue? She’s nowhere to be found. But I’m fighting for it. I have sent letters to the Secretary of Defense, to the chairmen, to the Secretary of the Army, to senators. I’ve talked to them.

In response to an inquiry for this story, Bolduc spokesperson Kate Constantini told the American Independent Foundation, “Go bark up someone else’s tree.”

Bolduc’s statement repeats a false conspiracy theory being circulated by opponents of COVID-19 vaccines without evidence that the inoculations cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

Such claims are based on unconfirmed reports and are not supported by data, according to a Reuters fact check.

A spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the outlet in May that research on the vaccine doesn’t support the claims: “We have not found unexpected or unusual increased reporting of any adverse event nor increased reporting rates for adverse events during pregnancy, including spontaneous abortion or stillbirths following COVID-19 vaccination, compared to background rates.”

A September 2021 research letter published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association stated, “Spontaneous abortions did not have an increased odds of exposure to a COVID-19 vaccination in the prior 28 days compared with ongoing pregnancies.”

PolitiFact directly debunked another claim of a 300% increase in miscarriages in April 2021, noting that it was based on unconfirmed reports.

Bolduc has often spread false conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines, making bogus claims about the vaccine causing miscarriages; accusing Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates of trying to implant microchips in people through vaccination; and telling an interviewer in February, “It’s not a vaccination. It’s a shot.” When the interviewer pushed back and explained what a COVID vaccination is, Boduc responded, “You call it what you wanna call it, I call it what I wanna call it” and said it should not be mandatory.

Hassan encourages vaccination. In a September 2021 op-ed, she wrote, “Vaccine and testing requirements are common sense.”

While Bolduc thinks requiring service members to get immunizations is a women’s rights issue, he has strongly opposed guaranteeing women the right to have an abortion.

A July 2020 report in the New Hampshire Union Leader noted Bolduc’s support for a law that would put doctors in jail for performing abortions.

He told the Dover Republican Committee he is “unapologetically pro-life,” and said: “I’m not gonna vote contrary to pro-life. I respect life from the beginning to the end.”

In June, Bolduc praised the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that struck down the federal guarantee of abortion rights and called it “great.”

HuffPost reported that at a town hall event on Oct 5, Bolduc said that abortion was a question best left up to “these gentlemen right here,” gesturing at state legislators who were in the room:

It belongs to the state. It belongs to these gentlemen right here, who are state legislators representing you. That is the best way I think, as a man, that women get the best voice. At the state level, not at the federal level. And it’s really Sen. Hassan that doesn’t understand this, and she needs to get on board with the Supreme Court decision.

Unlike Bolduc, Hassan believes the right to have an abortion is a “woman’s fundamental freedom” and should not be left up to “anti-choice extremists.”

She co-sponsored the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would codify the federal right to abortion prior to the point at which a fetus is viable to survive outside the uterus.

Hassan has been endorsed by both NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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