Inside Kelly Ayotte’s long anti-abortion record

Former Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire speaks at a campaign rally, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, at Lanconia Municipal Airport in Gilford, N.H. Ayotte has announced Monday, July 24, 2023, she'll be running for governor, days after fellow Republican Chris Sununu said he’s not seeking reelection to a fifth term in 2024. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

By Keya Vakil

December 1, 2023

Republican Kelly Ayotte is running to be New Hampshire’s next governor, but the former US Senator’s long record of opposing reproductive freedom could prove difficult to overcome in a state where abortion rights and other individual freedoms are overwhelmingly popular.

Ayotte has claimed this year that she does not plan to change the state’s current abortion laws, which allow abortions up until 24 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions after that point only for fatal fetal diagnoses and to save the life of the mother, but not for rape or incest.

Despite what she says, Ayotte’s long record of anti-abortion actions and comments has reproductive rights advocates and Democrats expressing skepticism.

Here’s a look at some of her previous anti-abortion votes and efforts:

In 2010, while participating in a Republican Senate primary debate, Ayotte said that Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide, should be overturned. 

During her time in the Senate, Ayotte racked up a record of anti-abortion votes, including repeated votes to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood, which offers a whole host of reproductive healthcare services beyond abortion (a stance she has once again embraced this year while campaigning for governor).

In 2013, she voted for an amendment that would have criminalized doctors and close family members who helped young people access safe and legal abortions.

In 2014, she led a (failed) effort to demand Democrats allow a vote on a 20-week nationwide abortion ban. In 2015, after Republicans took control of the Senate, Ayotte voted for the bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks.

She backed multiple efforts to undermine a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires most employers to cover the full range of contraception at no cost to women. Ayotte also repeatedly voted to repeal the ACA, even as it saved women billions of dollars per year on birth control alone.

And in 2016, Ayotte—along with Senate Republican leadership—refused to consider former President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, which later allowed Donald Trump to appoint an anti-abortion justice (Neil Gorsuch) who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Ayotte’s record has been heavily criticized by Kayla Montgomery, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. 

“Kelly Ayotte’s anti-abortion position is out of touch with the majority of New Hampshire voters who believe abortion should be safe, legal, and accessible,” Montgomery said in a statement after Ayotte launched her campaign this past summer. “The future of abortion rights in our state depends on every election; Granite Staters can’t count on Kelly Ayotte to protect our reproductive rights.”

Polling consistently shows that a huge majority of New Hampshire voters support reproductive freedom, with a recent survey from Breakthrough Campaigns conducted for the progressive nonprofit Amplify NH found that 87% of voters support reproductive freedom, with 64% expecting state elected officials to protect or expand access to abortion in the Granite State.

Author

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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