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Pro-Life Actions Help Propel Republican Governors to Re-election

November 9, 2022

Tuesday night’s midterm election results brought in victories for several staunchly pro-life governors across America.

In the wake of this year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, many Republican politicos steered back from strong pro-life messaging in an inflamed political climate, leaning into other top voter priorities such as the economy and the border. Meanwhile, Democrats poured millions of dollars into ad spending, beckoning supporters of abortion to hit the polls in defense of “women’s rights.”

It turns out, Democrats were right — midterm voters cared about the abortion issue more than many Republicans gave credit for. While voters remain concerned over the economy, the border, and education, strong pro-life policy was a winning issue for several incumbent Republican governors.

For months, polling has reflected a majority pro-life sentiment among voters, despite a divisive political landscape. Nearly two-thirds of Americans do not support second and third trimester abortions. Only 8% of Americans favoring legalizing abortion through all nine months, according to the Associated Press.

Pro-life National Review writer Alexandra DeSanctis tweeted out her observation of the phenomenon, “In FL, OH, TX, and GA, Republican governors who signed very pro-life laws won handily. Meanwhile, lame Senate candidates in GA and OH underperformed. Abortion is not the problem.”

The following Republican governors doubled down on their pro-life values and saw success at the polls:

  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis achieved a landslide reelection victory Tuesday night, surpassing his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist by well over a millon votes. Among many issues that popularize him among Floridians, DeSantis signed into law protections for unborn life after 15 weeks.
  • Georgia Governor Brian Kemp won his reelection against pro-abortion Democrat Stacey Abrams, having championed life from six weeks on by signing a heartbeat bill in 2019.
  • Texas Governor Greg Abbott famously signed a heartbeat bill last year, protecting unborn life after a heartbeat is detected. He won his reelection against Democrat Beto O’Rourke.
  • Similarly, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a heartbeat bill in 2018 and won her gubernatorial race.
  • Re-elected Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed HB4327 this year, protecting life from conception. “I promised Oklahomans that as governor I would sign every piece of pro-life legislation that came across my desk,” he said in his official statement.
  • Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also won her reelection Tuesday night. In May 2019, she signed off on her state’s Human Life Protection Act.
  • New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed into law protections for life after the unborn baby’s viability at 24 weeks, and he won against the Democratic nominee last night.
  • This year, post-Roe, Idaho enacted similar protections for unborn babies after 24 weeks due to 2020 trigger laws signed by Governor Brad Little, who won another term Tuesday.
  • Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a heartbeat bill and was reelected for his second term in office.

“To use a football analogy, sports fans know that you can’t win a game with just defense or special teams,” Brent Keilen, vice president of FRC Action, told The Washington Stand, “You have to play offense to move the ball down the field and score. The same holds true in public policy. The candidates who were proactive on the life issue, defined their pro-life positions, and defined the extreme ideologies they were running against — in most cases legal abortion for any reason up until the moment of birth — did very well at the ballot box. This held true in even traditionally competitive states like Georgia, Florida, Ohio, and Iowa.”

In contrast to gubernatorial pro-life wins, several ballot initiatives across states proved to be victories for abortion.

  • An attempt to add a pro-life amendment to the Kentucky state constitution, almost completely banning abortion in the state, was shot down.
  • Michigan’s Prop 3 initiative won with 56.7% of the vote, adding the “right to abortion” to the state’s constitution.
  • Californians voted “yes” on Prop 1, codifying abortion as a “fundamental right” up until birth, a measure that Democrats Hillary Clinton and Governor Gavin Newsom pushed for.
  • Vermont’s passage of Prop 5 made them the first state to codify abortion into their state constitution.
  • Montana’s Born Alive initiative offered unborn babies legal human rights to medical care amidst failed abortion attempts, though it lost to a majority “no” vote.

“The simple truth is that many voters either abstain or fail to vote their true values because of deceptive wording,” Joy Stockbauer, a policy analyst with FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, explained to TWS. “The millions of dollars poured into ballot initiatives by the abortion industry muddied the waters and misrepresented what the ballot initiatives actually meant. Fundamentally, in a nation that values the dignity of every person, whether or not a human being lives or dies should not be left to a popular vote.”

Nevertheless, Stockbauer told TWS, onlookers cannot discount the way the pro-life cause resonates with voters. “The elections showed us that being staunchly pro-life is by no means a disqualifying factor for a political candidate,” she said. “Every governor who has taken a strong pro-life stance won their race, including Greg Abbott in Texas and Kevin Stitt in Oklahoma, thus demonstrating that a clear pro-life message is well-received by voters.”

Marjorie Jackson is a reporter for The Washington Stand.