". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


4 Ways Republicans Should Talk about Life in 2024

January 18, 2024

Every January, tens of thousands trek to Washington, D.C. to memorialize the 63 million unborn babies killed in the United States since 1973 and to call on elected officials to end this evil.

As the March for Life approaches, political pundits are recommending Republicans leave the unborn to speak for themselves. Even “pro-lifers” have argued that if Republicans want to win the 2024 election, they must “find a middle ground” on the life issue.

Sadly, this path has already failed.

Since the Dobbs Supreme Court decision, candidates have relied on public opinion polls to dictate their position on life. Over 60% of Americans agree that abortion should be illegal after 15 weeks, and so logically, the path of “compromise” should have won the day.

But, when it comes to defending life, public opinion polls have not correlated with the ballot box.

In each election since Dobbs, Democrats have claimed that when laws protect unborn babies, women die. Meanwhile, Republicans have tripped over themselves to convince voters that they are NOT trying to ban all abortions — they’re merely trying to be reasonable. And so, voters have been left with a choice: cast a ballot for Democrats from 2024 or cast a ballot for Democrats from 1992.

Republicans have failed to make elections about babies at all. Instead, it’s been about “common sense limits,” “things we can all agree on,” “reasonable restrictions,” and “consensus.”

The logically inconsistent message of “sometimes you can kill a baby and sometimes you can’t,” just isn’t good enough.

Here are four ways Republicans can chart a different course in 2024.

1. State the Goal

Instead of trying to find a “middle ground” and explaining how they aren’t “banning abortion,” pro-life candidates should start describing what they are doing — working to protect and defend every single unborn child because life is a precious gift from God. But it’s not enough to speak in generalizations.

Candidates need to share the stories of families they know who have been blessed with a child with fetal anomalies, of children whose mothers have sacrificed everything to give them life, of immigrants who have fled oppression and come to America because it’s a place where their children will be valued simply because they are human beings, of the struggle of couples who have miscarried or carried the cross of infertility, and of babies whose smile has helped their mother heal from wounds she should never have borne. Stories change hearts. Republicans need to tell them.

2. Describe Who Abortions Kill

Melissa Ohden lived through a saline infusion abortion that was meant to poison and scald her to death. Claire Culwell’s 13-year-old mother had an abortion and weeks later, she realized she was still pregnant. She had twins, and only one of the babies had been killed. Claire survived. Josiah Presley lives with a deformed arm as the result of a curettage abortion that was meant to take his life. Gianna Jessen’s life was attacked through a saline abortion that didn’t kill her but left her with cerebral palsy instead. There are many other abortion survivor stories, and each one forces Democrats to literally come face to face with their position.

Instead of appealing to “reasonable restrictions,” candidates should emphasize that an abortion isn’t a magic wand that painlessly reverts a couple back to the point where their child didn’t exist. Abortion brutally murders a baby — typically by either starving that child to death or tearing that child’s body apart limb from limb. Democrats should have to answer for the people their legislation has allowed abortionists to kill.

3. Talk about Moms

Women who have had abortions bear physical and emotional scars that are real and heartbreaking — and there are numerous statistics candidates could reference to prove this. But facts are cold and can seem heartless. Candidates shouldn’t just share them. They should tell the stories of the moms they’ve met who were physically injured by abortions. They should talk about those pressured or forced into abortion by their partner, their family, their trafficker, their coach, or their employer. These women deserve better, and their stories are compelling.

Just as importantly, candidates should give real life examples of the work they are doing to help mothers in need. We live in America. A mother should not think killing her child is the best way out of whatever problem she is facing. Supporting legislation to assist pregnancy resource centers — or better yet, volunteering at one themselves — is a great place for candidates to start.

4. Make Promises You Can Keep

Candidates cannot protect life from conception the moment they are elected, but they can take steps to bring about the day when the unborn will be protected. Candidates should demand the enforcement of protections for unborn children already on the books, promise to sign or vote for any democratically passed legislation protecting life, and vow to appoint only pro-life members of the administration or in positions of leadership in Congress.

If Republicans want to win in 2024, they need pro-lifers to come out to vote and bring their friends. Republicans have to stop messaging that killing an unborn child could be “reasonable.” Instead, they need to tell the story of the beautiful gift of life, describe the person an abortion kills, share ways they’re helping moms in need, and promise to do everything in their power to protect the unborn.

Mary Szoch is the Director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.