Social conservatives recognize that they have the most leverage during the nominating process. There were hours of discussion about how best to maximize it during a Thursday strategy session convened by the Susan B. Anthony List, one of the most influential anti-abortion groups.

Steve King, the conservative congressman from Iowa, told activists they should make a point of prodding candidates to detail their views during events. “If they’re not in a position where they talk about it, neither are they publicly committed,” King told a group of 75 at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington. “Getting them on record creates momentum for our cause.”

A group of moderate Republican congresswomen prodded House leadership to postpone a vote on the 20-week ban in January over concerns about the definition of rape in the bill. Activists continue pushing for votes in the House and Senate this Congress, but they know there aren’t the votes to override a presidential veto. So they’re focused on electing an ally as president. It’s part of a broader strategy to incrementally roll back abortion. Many states have already passed similar bills.