It didn't take some Republican U.S. Senate candidates long to criticize Republican Gov. Pat McCrory's decision not to appeal a federal judge's decision throwing out a requirement that women seeking abortions be shown a narrated ultrasound just before having the procedure.
Thom Tillis and Mark Harris responded quickly, asking McCrory to reverse his decision and appeal. Other GOP Senate candidates agreed.
All this signals that abortion is likely to be an issue in the race all year, just as it promises to be in other states.
Last week a New York Times story called it an "unexpectedly animating issue" in elections across the country. Republicans are using it to rev up their base. Democrats think it will fire up women.
The judge's decision involved the so-called Women's Right to Know law passed in 2011 and passed again over then-Gov. Bev Perdue's veto. And Judge Catherine Eagle's ruling puts it smack on the agenda in 2014.
"There's no question the ultrasound provision is a
critical part of that law," says Harris. "We know that it gives critical information to women. I
cannot imagine anyone wanting to resist the best information a woman could
receive before making such a major life decision.”
Democratic incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan will be happy to take up that fight.
Says her spokeswoman Sadie Weiner: "Every Republican candidate in this race has advocated to restrict women's access to care, and it's disappointing they want to spend more time on this out-of-touch, irresponsible effort rather than focusing on jobs and the economy like middle-class families need them to."