NH Sheriff Candidate Says He'd Use Deadly Force to Stop Abortions

A Republican running for county sheriff in New Hampshire is facing calls to leave the race after he suggested it is acceptable to use deadly force to stop a doctor from performing an abortion. He has since apologized for his comments, calling them “unacceptable,” but has made no indication that he will drop out.

In a local television interview, Hillsborough County sheriff candidate Frank Szabo said that he values the life of an unborn fetus so much that, when it came to elective and late-term abortions, he’d be willing to kill for it:

But Szabo may have inflamed the issue further when asked if he would use deadly force to prevent an abortion.

“I would respond specifically by saying that if someone is under threat, a full-grown human being, if they’re under threat, what should the sheriff do? Everything in their power to prevent them from being harmed,” he said.

When pressed about what he would do if he learned that a doctor was about to perform an elective abortion, Szabo replied he would do what it took to prevent that from happening.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Well, I would hope that it wouldn’t come to that, as with any situation where someone is in danger, but again,specifically talking about elective abortions and late-term abortions, that is an act that needs to be stopped.

Watch it:

Toward the end of the interview, Szabo went on to compare abortion to slavery, saying that, in the case of abortion, much like slavery, “”There is a difference between legal and lawful.”

Sentiments like Szabo’s set a dangerous precedent. He is not alone in thinking that doctors should be blocked from providing legal abortion services — Republicans have proposed several bills that would create penalties for abortion providers — but his statements appear to a violent anger. Doctors have actually been killed, hurt, and stalked by anti-abortion advocates. Most famously, Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion provider from Kansas, was shot and killed while attending church services.

Among those calling on Szabo to step down is New Hampshire’s Republican House Speaker Bill O’Brien. In a release, O’Brien wrote, “It is our hope that Mr. Szabo will withdraw from this race and think long and hard about grounding himself in constitutional law and principles before considering political office in the future.”

ThinkProgress / By Annie-Rose Strasser

Posted at August 23, 2012, 8:52am

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