CONCORD — The state Republican Party at its convention in Manchester on Saturday tightened up its already-strong pro-life language, to include a so-called “Personhood Amendment,” and reinforced its support of one man-one woman marriage.
The party also called for “silent prayer or reflective silence in the classroom along with the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each school day.”
The changes regarding the unborn and marriage were promptly criticized by the Democrats. Gov. Maggie Hassan’s campaign called them “anti-women, anti-equality” and hit GOP candidate for governor Walt Havenstein for not protesting them. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen called the addition of the “Personhood Amendment” disturbing.
Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown’s spokesman, Elizabeth Guyton, reacting to the addition of the “Personhood Amendment,” said, “Scott Brown is pro-choice and will protect a woman’s right to choose.”
Havenstein said that while Republicans may disagree on some issues, they all agree the economy is the most important issue.
The current GOP platform, under the heading “The Family,” says:
“Support the unborn child’s fundamental right to life and implement all possible legal protections.”
The new language adopted Saturday, which will take effect in the next election cycle, changes that plank to say:
“Support the pre-born child’s fundamental right to life and personhood under the Fourteenth Amendment, and implement all Constitutional and legal protections.”
On marriage, the platform current platform says:
“Recognize marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman.
The new language says:
“Recognize marriage as the legal and sacred union between one man and one woman as ordained by God, encouraged by the State, traditional to humankind, and the core of the Family.”
The new platform then adds:
“Support a Life at Conception Act guaranteeing the protections of Life and Personhood to the pre-born under the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution.”
Under a section of the platform entitled “Federalism,” the current platform says:
“Oppose laws and programs contrary to our founding principles such as Sharia Law, the International Baccalaureate Program, UN Agenda 21 or other ‘sustainable development’ programs.”
The new platform removes the “term Sharia Law” from this plank, but then specifically adds:
“Take any and all actions possible to protect against the implementation of any part of Sharia law in NH, including legislation outlawing Sharia law.”
The platform also adds a provision stating:
“Enable and encourage a momentary silent prayer or reflective silence in the classroom along with the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each school day.”
Hassan campaign manager Marc Goldberg said in a statement t is “shameful” that Havenstein “failed to stand up to the extreme members of his party and block the anti-women, anti-equality changes to the New Hampshire Republican Party’s platform.
“Women’s health issues are economic issues,” Goldberg said, “because if women can’t afford the basic health services they need or if they aren’t able to access reproductive health services that allow them to decide the right time in their lives to begin a family, then it puts a strain on them financially.”
He also said opposing same-sex marriage “hurts thousands of loving New Hampshire couples and families who deserve the right to marry whom they choose. Havenstein and the New Hampshire Republican Party are completely out of touch with the priorities of Granite State families and would take us backwards, undoing years of bipartisan progress and undermining our economic future.”
Havenstein is pro-choice and has said he would “consider” signing a repeal of state’s same-sex marriage law.
He said, “Just like our late President Ronald Reagan said, there are going to be issues we agree on and there are going to be issues we may not agree on. But the fundamental issue – and that is to get our economy moving – we all agree on.”
“I have an obligation to lead all members of the Republican Party,” he said, “even those I may not be in 100 percent in alignment with. But they are in alignment with me when it comes to get our economy moving. That’s what I think is the most important issue.”
Shaheen’s campaign said the “Personhood Amendment” would “ban all abortions even in cases of rape and incest; ban most common forms of birth control,” and ban n in vitro fertilization.”
“The message from Scott Brown and his Republican Party is disturbing, alarming and clear,” Shaheen said. “They believe they should make the decisions about birth control and health care for women in New Hampshire and around the country. They are dangerously wrong, and by signing on with Tea Party extremists, they’re showing just how irresponsibly out of touch they are with the needs and rights of women.”