Frank Szabo wants the people of Hillsborough County, N.H., to know that if they elect him as sheriff this year, he will do whatever it takes to stop doctors from performing abortions — even if that means using deadly force.
In an interview on Wednesday with local television station WMUR, Szabo said he believed sheriffs were granted special powers under the Constitution. That means, he said, he would be empowered to arrest or even use deadly force against doctors for providing legal abortions for women.“I would hope that it wouldn’t come to that, as with any situation where someone was in danger,” Szabo said. “But again, specifically talking about elective abortions and late term abortions, that is an act that needs to be stopped.”
He clarified it did not apply to cases in which the mother’s life was in danger. “That’s a medical decision. That’s out of the area I’m talking about,” he said.
It’s not clear what kind of chance Szabo has at winning the race. He claims endorsements from Jack Kimball, the former chairman of the state Republican Party, as well as multiple tea party groups. But WMUR reported that the state’s House speaker was already calling for Szabo to drop out of the race after his comments surfaced.
Szabo said he believed sheriffs are given enormous authority under his interpretation of the Constitution. When pressed about what he would do if a prosecutor declined to charge a doctor he arrested, he said the answer was simple.
“If they choose not to do their duty and uphold the Constitution,” Szabo said, “they can be brought up on charges before what’s called a citizen’s grand jury, which is something that’s not that common in the United States. But again, it is something based in common law that’s within the purview of the county sheriff.”
See his whole interview with WMUR here.
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at email@example.com