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Democratic pro-abortion rights PAC hopes to oust Gov. Baker

April 14, 2021 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — A national political action committee dedicated to helping elect Democratic woman who support abortion rights say they are targeting a series of Republican governors, including Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

The group, EMILY’s List, faulted Baker for refusing to expand abortion rights in Massachusetts.

Specifically, the group criticized Baker for opposing legislation that would enlarge access to reproductive care and codify the right to an abortion into Massachusetts state law.

They also pointed to his opposition to allowing abortion later in pregnancy under certain medical conditions, and his support of requiring minors to obtain parental consent to have an abortion.

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“Each and every one of these nine Republican governors have failed to perform what should be their primary duty in office: to use their offices to improve the lives of families across their states,” Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY’s List, said in written release Tuesday.

“We need governors who place the public good over their personal and partisan political agendas. Every one of these states would be much better served by electing a Democratic pro-choice woman governor,” she added.

A representative of Baker’s political organization did not immediately return a request for comment.

Other Republican governors in New England being targeted by the group include New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott.

Baker last year vetoed a bill — known as the Roe Act — which sought to codify abortion rights into state law, allow abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases where the child would not survive after birth, and lower from 18 to 16 the age at which women could seek an abortion without consent from a parent or guardian.

Baker said while he strongly supports many provisions of the measure, he could not support expanding the availability of later-term abortions and permitting 16- and 17-year-olds to get an abortion without parental consent.

The Democratic-controlled Massachusetts House and Senate voted to override Baker’s veto, making the measure a state law despite his opposition.

Baker, 64, is currently in the middle of his second term and hasn’t said whether he’ll seek a third term in next year’s election.

Former Massachusetts state Sen. Ben Downing became the first Democrat to formally announce a run for governor in 2022.

Democratic state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, a critic of Baker’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said last month she is weighing a bid for governor. Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey is also seen as a possible candidate.

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Baker is generally seen as relatively moderate compared to national Republicans. He was a frequent critic of former President Donald Trump and refused to vote for him in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Baker remained very popular among Massachusetts voters during much of the pandemic, although his popularity dipped during the distribution of vaccines after a website created by the state to inform residents about where to get vaccinated crashed.