ATLANTA (AP) — When Gov. Brian Kemp signed Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion ban into law on May 7, one of the most high-profile women by his side was Republican state Sen. Renee Unterman, who proudly donned a baseball cap reading “PRO LIFE.”
Unterman announced Thursday evening she will run for Congress in Georgia’s 7th District, bringing the abortion issue to the forefront of highly competitive U.S. House races in Atlanta’s northern suburbs.
She joins an already crowded race to represent a territory that Republicans are trying to hold on to as it has become more urban and diverse in recent decades. Unterman is among several Republicans looking to take the seat of retiring incumbent Republican Rep. Rob Woodall, who last year squeaked out a 419-vote victory over Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux in what became one of the closest House races in the country.
Bourdeaux, who’s again looking to be the Democratic nominee, had help from abortion-rights groups Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List in 2018, and said she expects even more enthusiastic — and early — support in 2020.
“Women in my age group — 30s, 40s and 50s — have always assumed that choice was there for us and that we’d have control over our bodies,” Bourdeaux said. “Now it is a question for our generation whether we are going to leave those same rights for our children.”
Bourdeaux said the issue resonates with the expanding Democratic base in her district, but is also key to coaxing out the middle of the electorate that helped her come within 500 votes of Woodall.
“It’s time for a gut check for professional middle-class women,” Bourdeaux said.