GOP’s Closed-Door Strategizing Over ‘Pro-Life’ Label Is Profane Equivocation

For 50 years, Republican leaders told us that they were pro-life. They made promises to work toward repealing Roe v. Wade and gave speeches about their commitment to the issue of life. It was convenient. Roe was the de facto law of the land, and it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere. So they joined the prayer rallies and did media tours about the sanctity of life, never expecting anything to happen. And then, miraculously, it did. Through former President Donald Trump’s appointments to the judiciary and with the prayers of countless supporters of life, the seemingly impossible became a reality: the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court on June 24, 2022. “The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. The issues of abortion legality and restrictions were sent back to the states. Now, all Republicans have to do is protect this hard-fought victory and the lives of all unborn children in this nation. But without the ability to hide behind Roe and with no Democrats to blame, many Republicans are beginning to show what they really believe. According to NBC News, Republican strategists are advising a shift in GOP candidates’ messaging on abortion to get away from the term “pro-life.” “At a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans this week, the head of a super PAC closely aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., presented poll results that suggested voters are reacting differently to commonly used terms like ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, said several senators who were in the room,” the outlet reported Thursday. NBC News described the meeting Wednesday as an informational session to help lawmakers better understand how their messaging might impact elections based on polling — made available to senators by former McConnell aide Steven Law — that showed the term “pro-life” no longer resonated with voters. Further, the report said, the National Republican Senatorial Committee “is encouraging Republicans to clearly state their opposition to a national abortion ban,” according to a “source familiar with the organization’s strategy.” The source said the Senate GOP’s campaign arm is advocating that its candidates instead support “reasonable limits on late-term abortions when babies can feel pain with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.” Some Republican commentators and strategists had already started backing off “every life is precious” and spouting Democratic talking points such as “safe, legal and rare.” In August, Fox News host Sean Hannity expressed concern that abortion bans before 15 weeks of pregnancy might “chase away many suburban voters.” During the first GOP presidential primary debate this year, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley came straight out with it, saying on the issue of a federal abortion ban that we need to “humanize” rather than “demonize” the abortion issue.
According to NBC News, Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana characterized the closed-door meeting as centered around “pro-baby policies.” When questioned about whether senators were advised to adopt a different term instead of “pro-life,” Young explained that “pro-baby” was a phrase he coined to emphasize his deep concern for the well-being of babies. Which brings up this question: Are Republicans now going to start debating when a “life” becomes a “baby”? It’s apparent many Republicans want the GOP to be the party of restricted and limited baby killings while labeling the Democrats as the party of unrestricted and unlimited baby killings. “What intrigued me the most about the results was that ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ means something different now, that people see being pro-life as being against all abortions … at all levels,” Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told NBC News. [firefly_poll] When asked what terminology GOP senators should use instead of “pro-life,” Cramer said, “I think it’s more of a ‘I’m pro-life, but … .’ Or it’s ‘I care deeply about the mother and the children, and we should always have compassion. But I believe that after 15 weeks where the child can feel pain, they should be protected.'” Anti-abortion activists say “pro-life” is a fine description of their cause. “The pro-life movement serves both mother and child,” a representative of Susan B. Anthony List Pro-Life America said in a statement. “We recognize the need to love and support them both. Today, the pro-abortion side opts to cut women from their communication entirely, choosing instead to speak to ‘pregnant people.’ Now more than ever, the pro-life movement needs to continue emphasizing its commitment to both women and children.” Meanwhile, pro-abortion activists don’t believe GOP attempts at equivocation will work with voters. Christina Reynolds, a spokeswoman for Emily’s List — an organization dedicated to promoting female candidates who advocate for abortion rights — told NBC News that these adjusted statements “underestimate” the public’s understanding of the abortion issue, emphasizing that “wrapping it up nicely” will not alter voters’ opinions. Reynolds may be on the wrong side of the issue, but she’s right about the repackaging of death. We have seen something similar with the laundering of child mutilation into the friendly sounding term “gender-affirming care.” It’s a game the left plays well, but it does not change the outcome. Modifying the language on the issue of life is a Trojan horse designed to reintroduce abortion. Such concessions lead down the slippery slope we are consistently told doesn’t exist, even as we slide farther and farther down it. Yesterday’s capitulation on gay marriage and the normalization of such behavior has led to insane levels of depravity being accepted and even celebrated in classrooms of children as young as 5. This is more of the establishment GOP letting down conservatives and the religious right — and the reason so many think there’s increasingly less difference between what the parties stand for. But the overturning of Roe has made one more thing clear: Republican leaders cannot have one foot in each boat and expect to keep standing anymore. Abortion is a clear fork in the path. Either get on the boat or get off it completely. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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