MANCHESTER, NH (CBS) – A man running for sheriff in New Hampshire says if he is elected, he will arrest anyone involved in an abortion in his county.READ MORE: Police Searching Woods In Abington For Missing 5-Year-Old Elijah Lewis
UPDATE 8-23: Sheriff Candidate Apologizes
Frank Szabo set off a firestorm with the comments. People on all sides of the political spectrum have condemned the statements, but Szabo stands by them. He says it’s the sheriff’s job to protect every citizen – even the unborn.
Szabo is running as a Republican for Hillsborough County Sheriff. But he injected a new issue in the debate when he sent out a press release saying he would arrest anyone performing an abortion.
He took it a step further when asked how far he’d go to stop one.
“Deadly force is the last thing law enforcement should be using, if a citizen’s life is in danger they should be protected,” says Szabo. “If there is no other choice, that’s what’s needed to protect the citizen.”
Republicans called Szabo’s statement, “Irresponsible, outrageous, and inappropriate.”READ MORE: 'Plan For Alternatives': Toys May Be In Short Supply This Holiday Season
Democrats said, “Every Republican officeholder and candidate in New Hampshire must condemn and reject this man and his beliefs.”
His opponent, current Hillsborough County Sheriff James Hardy says Szbao’s statement could incite violence.
“My opponent wants to substitute his opinions for enforcing the law,” says Sheriff Hardy.
And voters in downtown Manchester seemed surprised abortion was even an issue the sheriff’s race.
“I’m not sure how he feels he can get away with that,” said one woman.
“I think people have strong opinions and it would influence how they vote,” said another woman.
Szabo isn’t backing down.
He says, “Why is there a difference between someone who is 20 years old and their life is in danger and someone who is nine months in utero.”MORE NEWS: Lauren Astley's Father Works With Wayland Students To Raise Awareness About Teen Dating Violence
Szabo will face off against the current sheriff in the Republican primary next month.