“This is one of the few social issues that the Republican Party can use as a wedge issue to make Democrats look like the extremists that they are,” said one Republican strategist, arguing that the objectors forced unnecessary public frenzy. “Supporting the abortion of a 5-month-old baby is well outside the mainstream. Hillary Clinton, who once claimed that abortion should be ‘safe, legal and rare,’ would find herself on the fringes supporting late-term abortions.”
Ellmers and other dissenters, including Indiana’s Jackie Walorski, say they would have ultimately supported the bill if it came up because they oppose abortion at any stage of pregnancy. Aides say they want to bring the bill back up again once the language is changed, but it is unclear when that would take place.
In the meantime, House Republicans re-upped a bill to deny taxpayer funding for abortions. It passed on a party-line vote.
While some Democratic lawmakers lauded the attempt by moderates to delay the bill, activists aren’t going to let the GOP off easy on this issue. “Though the next election seems far away, women are watching and will not forget that they advanced this radical anti-woman agenda and failed to fight for policies to give families a fair shot,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock.