With a complete overturning of Roe v. Wade unlikely, Republicans’ messaging shift aims to highlight some of the more contentious aspects of abortion, in a bid to appear moderate on the issue, and to depict Democrats’ position as extreme and harmful to women and young people—two groups the GOP has struggled to hold.
“Pro-life candidates should be making voters understand that their opponent who has a pro-choice position probably wants to use taxpayer money for abortions, would support late-term abortions, and does not think parents should be involved,” says Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “They are the candidates that are out of step with the voters.”
To encourage Republicans to frame the issue this way, the Republican National Committee is introducing a resolution at its meeting this week that cites public polling on some of these limitations. The authors call on GOP candidates to “reject a strategy of silence” and fight back against what they call the Democrats’ “deceptive rhetoric” that is “demonizing them and manipulating voters.”
And Republican leadership is declaring abortion an important fight to have this cycle. “I can make this promise,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a sermon-like speech at the March for Life rally Wednesday. “The people’s House will stand for life.”