- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2024

Larry Hogan, Maryland’s Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, has thrown his support behind codifying abortion rights into federal law and embraced the “pro-choice” label, breaking with former President Donald Trump and most of the rest of his party.

Clarifying where he stands on the thorny issue two days after cruising to victory in the Republican primary, Mr. Hogan said he supports reviving the constitutional right to abortion that was protected under the now-defunct 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

“I support restoring Roe as the law of the land,” the former governor told The New York Times in an interview published Thursday. “I’ll continue to protect the rights of women to make their own reproductive choices just like I did as governor for eight years.

“I think Marylanders know and trust that when I give them my word, I’m going to keep it, and I’ve protected these rights before,” he said.

“And I’ll do it again in the Senate by supporting a bipartisan compromise to restore Roe as the law of the land.”

Mr. Hogan went further when pressed on how he would classify his position.

SEE ALSO: Can Larry Hogan revive his GOP magic versus Democrat Angela Alsobrooks in deep-blue Maryland?

“Given the definition of what I’m supporting — women’s rights to make their own decision — I would say that’s pro-choice,” he said.

Angela Alsobrooks, his Democratic rival, countered that Mr. Hogan is playing politics and cannot be trusted on the issue.

“Time and again, Larry Hogan has refused to support federal protections for abortion rights,” Ms. Alsobrooks said in a video that featured clips in which Mr. Hogan dodged questions related to federal protections for abortion rights.

Ms. Alsobrooks said the Republican caucus that Mr. Hogan pledged to join in the Senate has made its abortion “agenda crystal clear.” It was an apparent reference to a push by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to put strict limits on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Democrats have benefited at the ballot box from the blowback against the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and send the issue back to the states.

They hope that energy will help President Biden win reelection and power down-ticket Democrats to victory in swing states and congressional districts that will decide whether they defend their slim Senate majority and whether Republicans defend their razor-thin hold on the House.

Mr. Trump has sought to take some of the sting out of the unrelenting attacks from Democrats.

Although he takes credit for nominating the conservative Supreme Court justices who helped overturn Roe, Mr. Trump vows, if elected, to take a hands-off approach at the federal level. Like it or not, Mr. Trump says, the states will decide.

Mr. Hogan faces a different set of challenges in Maryland, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly 2-to-1.

“If he is going to get close in Maryland, that is basically a prerequisite,” said J. Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “With Maryland being such a blue state, basically Trump and … powers that be in the Republican Party, they are going to have to give Hogan a lot of leeway or even let him take Democratic positions in a state like Maryland.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee said Mr. Hogan “would vote to give far-right Republicans the Senate majority, putting Marylanders’ reproductive rights at risk.”

“That’s a dealbreaker for Maryland voters,” the group said on X. “No political posturing will change that.”

Mr. Hogan’s newfound abortion stance could help insulate him from Democrats’ attempts to argue that he will do whatever Republican leaders want if they take over the Senate.

Before Thursday, Mr. Hogan was relatively coy about his stance on abortion rights at the federal level.

Pro-choice activists, including Planned Parenthood, accused him of having an extreme record on abortion.

At his primary election night party, Mr. Hogan hinted that he could take a firmer pro-choice stand.

“To the women of Maryland, you have my word that I will continue to protect your right to make your own reproductive health decisions just like I did for eight years when I had the honor and privilege to serve as your governor,” Mr. Hogan said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2024 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide