Republican Paul DeGroot convened a press conference two weeks ago to say he has no problem with abortion regulations in New Jersey, where the tenets of Roe v. Wade are state law.
Yet, now we see a new ad by opponent Mikie Sherrill saying that DeGroot opposes abortion with no exceptions – the usual exceptions being rape, incest and the health of the mother.
All campaigns are prone to exaggeration and there may be some of that here.
But it’s more than that. The politics surrounding the overturning of Roe v. Wade has been a boon to Democrats, allowing them to talk about an issue that’s much better for them than inflation. And whether it’s coincidental or not, poll numbers for the Dems and even Joe Biden have improved a bit over the summer.
Republican House candidates in New Jersey have largely avoided talking about abortion.
By that measuring stick, DeGroot deserves credit for doing so.
But now, his comments on the issue are fodder for an attack ad against him. DeGroot already has expressed annoyance at Sherrill for distorting his position on the issue. This latest ad is prone to exacerbate those sentiments.
Still, Sherrill’s ad is not necessarily inaccurate.
DeGroot’s view, as stated at his press conference, is that abortion policy should be made by the states. That is in line with the court’s ruling in June.
That’s why DeGroot said he has no problem with what New Jersey has decided on abortion.
Expanding that principle means the other 49 states can do what they want with abortion.
DeGroot said he would not support a federal abortion ban, nor would he support congressional action to codify Roe v. Wade nationwide.
Now we come to the foundation of Sherrill’s ad.
If you support states determining abortion policy, that means you’re comfortable, or at least tolerant, of whatever they do. You can’t have one without the other. And some states have indeed banned abortion with no exception for rape or incest.
When this came up at his press event, DeGroot insisted that his main focus was not Alabama, West Virginia, or any other state, but the 11th District of New Jersey.
Fair point, but Congress is a national body.
DeGroot quickly answered Sherrill’s ad by putting an audio of his press event on his Facebook page.
Asked if he thought states should be able to ban abortion with no exceptions, DeGroot says in the audio:
“Oh, no, no, no. There definitely should be exceptions.” He then listed the exceptions – rape, incest and the health of the mother.
Does that mean Sherrill’s ad is wrong?
Then again, DeGroot has established the fact he supports exceptions to abortion bans, but the larger point of contention is whether he supports Congress doing anything about it.