July 28, 2014 —New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday at the National Governors Association said Republicans needed to reshape how they promote and discuss abortion and other social issues without altering their antiabortion-rights stance, even as he works to restrict the procedure in his own state, Bloomberg reports.
Christie -- a possible candidate for the White House in 2016 -- said at NGA's summer conference on Friday that people "want folks who are authentic and who believe what they say is true, but also who are tolerant and willing to listen to other points of view."
Christie's Antiabortion-Rights Stance
Christie has said that he opposes abortion except in instances of rape, incest or danger to the woman's life. He is the first New Jersey governor to publicly adopt an antiabortion-rights stance since the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, according to Bloomberg.
In 2009, when he first ran for governor, Christie called for officials to "work to reduce abortions in New Jersey through laws such as parental notification, a 24-hour waiting period and a ban on partial-birth abortion." However, according to Bloomberg, New Jersey's Democratic-controlled legislature has not moved a bill that would restrict abortion since Christie took office in 2009. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, New Jersey is second only to Maine in terms of abortion access in states with Republican governors.
Christie did cut $7.5 million from the state's 2011 budget that would have funded 58 clinics providing preventive and family planning services to low-income women.
State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D) -- sponsor of legislation that would restore the funding -- said that six of the clinics closed within a year of the budget being approved. According to Bloomberg, Christie's stance has not necessarily alienated female voters. Christie won 56% of female voters in his 2013 re-election campaign against Barbara Buono, a Democrat who supports abortion rights.
Deb Huber, acting president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women, said that Christie "single-handedly defunded Planned Parenthood in New Jersey." She said that while Christie "doesn't brag about it in those terms ... wait until he runs for president" and voters "may hear those words coming out of his mouth."
Meanwhile, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) said, "Our legislature believes in pro-choice," adding that antiabortion-rights organizations "can organize and make their attempt to get the governor's support, but they won't have the legislature's support" (Young, Bloomberg, 7/28).
Poll: Women Plan To Vote on Opposition to Hobby Lobby
In related news, 57% of women said that they plan to vote for candidates in the midterm election who have voiced opposition to the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby ruling, according to a new poll from Hart Research Associates, a Democratic polling firm, The Hill reports.
According to the poll, 72% of women said that the Hobby Lobby decision was somewhat or very important to them, with the ruling garnering more interest among younger, single and minority women. Overall, the poll found that 58% of women between the ages of 18 and 55 said that they oppose the ruling.
Dawn Laguens, executive vice president at Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, "This poll shows that women are focused on the Hobby Lobby ruling, they're angry about it, and they're going to vote based on it this November. The Hobby Lobby decision has lit a fuse that cannot be put out."
Stan Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, said that while other polls have shown that Republicans have a slight lead for the Senate in the midterm elections, Democrats are "holding their own" and could potentially win in more competitive states with support from single women, The Hill reports (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 7/25).