Amid national uncertainty if the landmark Roe v. Wade’s case will be upheld in higher court, many protesters are bringing their message to local officials and state capitals to advocate to uphold legal abortion access.
Protesters were heard shouting “shame on you” right before DeLemus was seen pointing at protesters screaming “Shame on you, shame on all of you. Shame on you, killing babies.” It then escalated to her pointing at the crowd, repeatedly screaming “You’re a murderer!”
DeLemus also shouted, “I murdered my own baby!” referring to an abortion she had decades ago and has publicly declared her regret about in the past. In 2012, DeLemus recounted an abortion she had when a bill was up for discussion on instating a 24-hour waiting period, AP reported.
In an interview hours after Thursday’s incident, DeLemus said she heard a large group of people yelling. When she came outside and said, “Abortion is murder,” they started yelling “Shame on you” at her.
“My feeling is shame on you and shame on me because I murdered my own baby by aborting it,” DeLemus said Thursday. “I stole that baby’s life from my family and from the community. I stole that person’s life, I took it for my own convenience, which I think that happens a lot with people who get abortions. Anyone who’s had an abortion, or anyone who supports abortion in my eyes, is a murderer or is pro abortion, pro death, pro ending the life of a baby.”
DeLemus said while it’s their right to be pro-abortion, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and she is very passionate about the issue.
“Just because it’s legal, abortion doesn’t mean that I did not kill another human being, and that’s my stance,” DeLemus said. “That was what the yelling was about. I raised my voice and tried to be loud to be heard by the chanting crowd.”
DeLemus was criticized for her actions Thursday. State Rep. Chuck Grassie, D-Rochester, said her behavior doesn’t reflect well on the city he and DeLemus represent.
“It’s an embarrassment to Rochester,” Grassie said. “She has no concern about the decorum and how a state representative should act. No matter how you feel you should respect people’s free speech rights. If this goes viral nationally, all people will see is she’s a representative from Rochester. If we want to grow our community and image, that isn’t the kind of news or image we want to project.”
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Kayla Montgomery, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, said people advocating or seeking reproductive health care should not be harassed or threatened.
“This incident demonstrates why it is so critical for reproductive health centers to have all options available to ensure patient and public privacy and safety,” Montgomery said. “No one should face threats, intimidation, or shame when accessing health care, including safe, legal abortion.”
Palana Hunt-Hawkins, a former Rochester city councilor and board member of 603 Forward and Women’s Foundation, said this kind of behavior cannot be condoned.
“Representative DeLemus is playing a dangerous game with bodily autonomy, choosing to ignore the majority of Granite Staters who oppose abortion restrictions and the 95% of people who do not regret their abortions,” Hunt-Hawkins said. “While I have sympathy for her regret, I have zero sympathy for an elected official who chooses to engage in yelling matches and accuse her constituents who support reproductive freedom of being ‘murderers’.”
New Hampshire Republican House Speaker Sherman Packard could not be immediately reached for comment.
Susan DeLemus’ husband is Jerry DeLemus, who was sentenced to 87 months in prison in 2017 after he was convicted of organizing armed patrols as part of rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with U.S. agents in Nevada in 2014.
Susan DeLemus in January 2021 pushed for then-ougoing President Donald Trump to grant a pardon to her husband. Her husband was not on the list of Trump’s final pardons.