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


GOP Fundraisers Urge Candidates to Lean into the Pro-Life Message

March 19, 2024

If Democratic strategists are hoping for a repeat of 2022 — when abortion saved their political bacon — things aren’t exactly aligning the way they’d hoped. A repeat of the midterms seems unlikely, now that voters have two more years of Biden catastrophes to stack on top of their fears about his mental cognizance. Not to mention that, with the slight blip of the IVF debate, Americans don’t seem nearly as consumed by the abortion issue as this White House.

Compared to the border crisis and inflation, abortion is a distant third in voters’ priorities. When Rasmussen asked more than 900 Americans about their focus for this year’s election, 91% said economic issues are either “important” or “very important.” Another 79% are worried about the millions of migrants entering the U.S., calling immigration “very important” in 2024. To the dismay of DNC headquarters, abortion was a distant third, with 71% calling the issue “important” and far fewer (44%) categorizing it as “very important.” (Democrats, unsurprisingly, make up the bulk of the concern.)

For the GOP, who’s been a ball of mixed messaging on the life issue since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, this November is a chance at redemption. After members’ skittishness cost them valuable ground in the House, more Republicans are telling candidates to pump up the volume on abortion. It’s time, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) argues, to stop running scared on life and start leaning into it.

In an internal memo to candidates, NRCC leadership tells hopefuls that they should “confidently articulate” their position — and “being unwilling to stake out a clear [stance] with voters is the worst possible solution.” Former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel had been adamant about that during her tenure, insisting that conservatives’ silence on abortion is what let the Democrats’ lies about the GOP’s agenda go unchallenged.

Even now, former Trump advisor and longtime pollster Kellyanne Conway found, Americans believe the media’s distortions on the GOP’s stance. When she surveyed 60 competitive House districts this year, The Wall Street Journal reported, one-third of people “associated Republicans with wanting to outlaw all abortions, while a similar number showed respondence saw Democrats favoring abortion for any reason at any time.” The latter is where pro-lifers should devote their energy, the NRCC insists. Voters by and large favor some restrictions on abortion — usually drawing the line in the early stages of the second trimester. That puts them “more in [sync] with the GOP than Democrats,” the group argues.

In other words, the Republican Party has a “brand problem, not a policy problem,” the memo insists. The solution, then, is pushing back on the Democrats’ extremism — not pretending the issue doesn’t exist. As a party, we need to express sympathy for women, Chair Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) urged, discuss “common sense” solutions, and above all, refuse to let the other side define us.

House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) agreed. “We believe it’s important for our members to engage on this and not stick their heads in the sand, which I think some potential candidates had done in the past.”

Family Research Council’s Mary Szoch added her voice to the growing chorus of pro-lifers urging courage. “During the 2024 election cycle,” she told The Washington Stand, “Republicans should not be afraid to boldly articulate that they will defend unborn babies. They should not back down from the discussion, but,” she added, “they also should not allow Democrats to frame the issue.” Terminology, Szoch said, is important. “The discussion about abortion isn’t one over ‘health care’ or ‘women’s rights.’ It’s about mothers, their babies, and an explosive industry that profits from killing innocent human beings up until the moment of birth.”

Frankly, she said, “Every GOP candidate should know the evils perpetuated by the abortion industry: Kermit Gosnell, Ulrich Klopfer, Cesare Santangelo — all three have committed horrific crimes against humanity — some prosecuted, some not. All three are abortionists. Melissa Ohden, Claire Cullwell, and over 1,500 others are the people that abortionists tried and failed to kill. GOP candidates should know their stories and reference them often.”

Right now, Szoch lamented, “Democrats are using the stories of tragic diagnosis of life limiting fetal anomalies to justify killing unborn babies with disabilities. Members of the GOP should condemn these actions, and they should do so boldly. The abortion industry preys upon moms in need — candidates should look for life-affirming ways to support moms. Supporting pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) is a great place to start. Most importantly, candidates must remember that words mean nothing if they’re not backed up by actions. The best campaign strategy is to build up a culture of life through everyday actions.”

And while every Republican candidate should fearlessly articulate their position on defending the unborn, Szoch insisted, “they must remember that first, they have to live it.”

Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.