Republicans Under Pressure as Anti-Abortion Activists Call for a National Ban - The New York Times

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  jbb  •  one week ago  •  44 comments

By:   Lisa Lerer and Katie Glueck (nytimes)

Republicans Under Pressure as Anti-Abortion Activists Call for a National Ban - The New York Times
Activists are pushing for tougher abortion restrictions, while politicians fear turning off swing voters who don't support strict limits like a national ban.

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Activists are pushing for tougher abortion restrictions, while politicians fear turning off swing voters who don't support strict limits like a national ban.

20pol-gop-abortion-kvbp-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale "This is coming. The pro-life movement is not going to be happy or thanking a candidate simply for saying they are pro-life," said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, an anti-abortion group.Credit...Leigh Vogel for The New York Timesauthor-lisa-lerer-thumbLarge-v2.pngauthor-katie-glueck-thumbLarge.png

By Lisa Lerer and Katie Glueck

Jan. 20, 2023Updated 10:37 a.m. ET

For decades, opposition to abortion was a crucial but relatively clear-cut litmus test for Republican candidates: support overturning a constitutional right to an abortion, back anti-abortion judges and vote against taxpayer funding for the procedure.

But now, six months after the Supreme Court overturned federal abortion rights, the test has grown a whole lot harder — and potentially more politically treacherous.

Even after a backlash in support of abortion rights cost Republicans key seats in the midterm elections, a restive socially conservative wing is pushing the party's lawmakers to embrace deeper restrictions. That effort is likely to be on stark display on Friday in Washington, when anti-abortion activists gather for what is expected to be a lower-key version of their annual march.

Historically, the event attracted top Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and former Speaker Paul Ryan. This year, the list of speakers circulated in advance included two lawmakers: Representative Steve Scalise, the Republican majority leader, and Representative Chris Smith, one of the leaders of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.

These activists and their allies are pressuring potential Republican presidential contenders to call for a national ban. Raising the stakes nearly two years before the 2024 contest, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, one of the most powerful anti-abortion groups, said that any candidate who does not support federal restrictions should be "disqualified" from winning the party's nomination.

But some Republican strategists worry that such a position could repel general-election swing voters, who polls show are turned off by the idea of a national ban.

Other conservative activists are pushing for a new series of litmus tests that include restrictions on medication abortion, protections for so-called crisis pregnancy centers that discourage women from having abortions, and promises of fiercely anti-abortion appointees to run the Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration.

For Republican politicians, these activists are forcing the question of what, exactly, it means to be "pro-life" in a post-Roe v. Wade era.

ImageIn Grand Rapids, Mich., last November, opponents rallied against Proposition 3, a ballot measure that sought to protect abortion rights. Democratic candidates, who supported Proposition 3, did well in the election.Credit...Brittany Greeson for The New York Times

"This is coming. The pro-life movement is not going to be happy or thanking a candidate simply for saying they are pro-life," said Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America, an anti-abortion group. "We're in a position where we're going to get down to the various candidates on how far they are going to go to protect women and children."

Some Republican officials and strategists argue that pitched debates over abortion rights in the midterms — and the party's inability to quickly adopt a unified message on the issue — contributed to the G.O.P.'s weaker-than-expected performance in battleground states including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

More on Abortion Issues in America

  • At a Crossroads: As the 50th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade ruling approaches, anti-abortion activists who fought to have the decision overturned are split about what they should focus on next.
  • Leaked Draft Opinion: The Supreme Court announced that an internal investigation had failed to identify who leaked a draft of the opinion that overturned Roe.
  • Morning-After Pills: The Food and Drug Administration revised its guidance on the most commonly used emergency contraceptives, making clear they are not abortion pills.
  • Abortion Pills: In a move that could significantly expand access to medication abortions, the F.D.A. moved to allow retail pharmacies to offer abortion pills in the United States.

This view is shared by former President Donald J. Trump, who distanced himself this month from a social conservative wing that has been a pillar of his base when he blamed the "abortion issue" for the party's loss of "large numbers of voters" in November.

The comments set off an instant backlash from loyal supporters who once lauded him as the most anti-abortion president in history. Ms. Hawkins described Mr. Trump as "listening to swamp consultants." The remarks also prompted ridicule from some Republican strategists who noted that Mr. Trump was often a liability in major races last year.

Some potential 2024 candidates have begun tussling over the issue as they try to position themselves as the conservative movement's next standard-bearer. Mr. Trump's comments drew a rebuke from his former vice president, Mike Pence, who retweeted a statement from Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America urging the former president and his possible rivals to embrace an "ambitious consensus pro-life position."

"Well said," added Mr. Pence, who has cast himself as a true champion of the cause as he promotes the Supreme Court's ruling in appearances at "crisis pregnancy centers" and movement galas.

A spokesman for Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota has accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida of "hiding" behind his state's ban on abortion past 15 weeks of pregnancy, while Ms. Noem has promoted her "aggressive" record on abortion restrictions.

"Talking about situations and making statements is incredibly important, but also taking action and governing and bringing policies that protect life are even more important," she said recently on CBS News.

How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

And Mr. DeSantis, who shied away from addressing abortion for most of the fall campaign, has said he is "willing to sign great life legislation" and has not ruled out support for a six-week ban.

ImageGov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed a bill last year for a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, and he has said he would consider a six-week ban.Credit...John Raoux/Associated Press

Still, it remains unclear what, exactly, is the new standard for being anti-abortion — even among those pushing for more restrictions. Is it enough to seek to ban abortions after 15 weeks? Or should the bar be roughly six weeks, like the measure that Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed into law? Should Republicans support exceptions for rape, incest and health of the mother — which Mr. Trump backs — or none at all? And how do you define health anyhow? Do psychiatric crises count?

As some Republican-dominated statehouses prepare to further limit abortion, future presidential candidates are also likely to be asked about restrictive measures being proposed, including prosecuting those seeking abortion care in states where it is banned, targeting allies who help women travel across state lines for the procedure, criminalizing the mailing of abortion medication, and granting fetuses the same legal rights as people through fetal personhood bills.

"Conservatives will not allow a Republican to be elected as their candidate that's not pro-life," said Penny Nance, the chief executive of Concerned Women for America, a group that argues that life begins at conception.

Asked how conservatives now defined "pro-life" credentials — in terms of embracing abortion restrictions after a certain pregnancy threshold, simply looking for candidates who seemed to be fighters on the issue, or something else — Ms. Nance replied, "I think we'll grapple with that."

Several activists have suggested that they expect this grappling to unfold in the context of a presidential primary campaign, as possible candidates race to demonstrate their anti-abortion bona fides.

Democrats are avidly watching from the sidelines, keeping close tabs on the abortion stances of potential 2024 rivals. Their hope is that Republicans adopt positions that might be popular with their base but that will cost them the moderate suburbanites who are critical in the general election. Polling conducted by some Democratic strategists during the midterms found that voters strongly rejected any discussion of a national abortion ban.

"They're going to go for a national ban," Celinda Lake, a longtime Democratic strategist and pollster, said in an interview around Election Day. "That is the most mobilizing statement, the most persuasive."

She added, "And their candidate is going to be pushed into saying it."

Still, after the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, it remains an open question whether social conservatives hold the same king-making power in the primary as they did in 2016, or if they may be forced to accept a candidate who doesn't go as far on their top issues as they would prefer.

ImageGov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota has promoted her "aggressive" record on abortion restrictions.Credit...Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The party remains divided over whether to support any national restrictions. In the House, the new Republican majority opened the session with a package of abortion legislation that did not include a national ban. Because Democrats control the Senate, none of the measures are expected to become law.

"A great many Republicans still think the victory in Dobbs was pushing this down to the states," Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist and longtime adviser to Senator Mitch McConnell, said when asked for his thoughts on the relatively limited action on Capitol Hill. "It is contradictory to simultaneously believe that and then push for a national regime on it."

Mr. Jennings said he thought restricting abortion access after 15 weeks of pregnancy, with some exceptions, was smart politics, a proposal that candidates could endorse for the states.

But when Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina put forward that position in the form of a federal ban before the midterms, the proposal earned a backlash among some Republicans who viewed it, and its timing, as politically foolhardy.

Still, in the final weeks of the midterms, many Republicans embraced a central message: a 15-week limit with exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. They sought to push Democrats to define their own limits on gestational age in order to frame them, at times misleadingly, as "extremists" who support "abortion until birth" if they refused.

Nearly all Democrats support federal legislation that would reinstate a version of the standard set by Roe: permitting abortion until fetal viability, roughly 23 weeks, and after that point only if the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother's health. Less than 1 percent of abortions occur after 21 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Robert Blizzard, a veteran Republican pollster, noted that several Republican candidates who generally opposed abortion rights won major statewide races in places including Florida, Georgia and Iowa. But elsewhere, for candidates without clearly defined personal brands, he said, "voters can use the abortion issue as a test of how compassionate they are, and how pragmatic they are, in order to solve problems and get things done."

"There were some candidates we had running, specifically in statewide races, that just could never get past the favorability" issue with independent voters, he added.

Mr. Blizzard emphasized that it was impossible to know what issues would motivate voters in the 2024 general election. But there is little doubt, he said, that Democrats will continue to use the abortion issue against Republicans — and that in the midterms they often did so effectively.

"Every metric you would look at indicates that that energizes the left and energizes the Democratic base, which it certainly did," he said. "In some cases, where we made the fight over other issues — whether the economy, inflation, the border, whatever else was going on in a particular state or district — we did, I think, well. But in places where we were not able to change the narrative of a race, we didn't do well."

"In terms of going forward," he went on, describing the political uncertainties surrounding the issue, "I don't think anyone has a really solid answer for it."


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JBB
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JBB    one week ago

The good news is the gop keeps on losing voters!

 
 
 
Just Jim NC TttH
Professor Principal
1.1  Just Jim NC TttH  replied to  JBB @1    one week ago

Citation?

Or just feeeeelings

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
1.1.1  Ronin2  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1    one week ago

It is always just feelings with leftists. 

We are in a recession and it is going to get worse; but they only see what they want to see.

"Look at the squirrel, look at the squirrel" 

"But Trruuummmmppppp!!!!!!"

That is all they have. It worked for them at midterms. We will see if it works with the SS Brandon dragging the party down in 2024.

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
1.1.2  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Just Jim NC TttH @1.1    one week ago

You know it's all feelings.  

Not quite sure why they are gathering in D.C. This is a state issue. 

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
1.1.3  afrayedknot  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @1.1.2    one week ago

”You know it's all feelings.”

Too funny when that’s all you’ve got…hate being at the forefront, which is strong in you. The most emotional, least productive reaction imaginable. Peace. 

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
1.1.4  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  afrayedknot @1.1.3    one week ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
1.1.5  afrayedknot  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @1.1.4    one week ago

Maybe you and your wing man can enjoy a pity party ‘somewhere else’ if you cannot accept or even acknowledge the premise offered here. 

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
1.2  afrayedknot  replied to  JBB @1    one week ago

An example of ‘hoisting oneself on their own pitard’…we’ve come too far to now go back. This will be the definitive issue in 2024.

They want the suburban white woman vote? Good luck with that if this is your position…walking the plank. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.2.1  devangelical  replied to  afrayedknot @1.2    one week ago

rwnj's have let thumper scum lead them to the anti-choice hill they will die on politically. bummer, huh?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
1.2.2  Sean Treacy  replied to  afrayedknot @1.2    one week ago
This will be the definitive issue in 2024.

Sounds like the zealots who keep moving the apocalypse 5 years down the road when their last prediction failed.  It didn't happen in 2022, so it must be 2024!

I guess you'll be in the park in with the other zorpies in 2024, sure this time your longed for day will finally come.

hey want the suburban white woman v

Back in the real world, the Republican share of suburban white women vote increased in 2022.   Abortion , like every other issue, will matter less and less as time goes by and local control becomes the status quo.  Only fanatics will continue to vote on a single issue. 

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  JBB @1    one week ago

Abortion is no longer an election issue.

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
1.3.1  afrayedknot  replied to  Greg Jones @1.3    one week ago

“Abortion is no longer an election issue”

It will always be an election issue as long as the personal freedoms of a majority of the electorate is affected by the outcome. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.3.2  seeder  JBB  replied to  Greg Jones @1.3    one week ago

Maybe not for far rightwing evangelical xtians in the gop, but it damn sure is for for the majority of voters according to polls...

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Silent
2  charger 383    one week ago

Abortion restrictions will lose more voters than it will gain

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.1  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  charger 383 @2    one week ago

That's all on the state level now.  

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Silent
2.1.1  charger 383  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.1    one week ago

Abortion restrictions will cost votes on the state level too

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
2.1.2  seeder  JBB  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.1    one week ago

The article is about the gop proposing a national abortion ban!

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.1.3  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  JBB @2.1.2    one week ago

And ignoring the fact it is a state level issue now.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.4  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.1.3    one week ago

Are you saying that the republicans could not do any national legislation?

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.1.5  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @2.1.4    one week ago

Do you not understand English?  It. Is. A. State. Issue.  

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
2.1.6  afrayedknot  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.1.5    one week ago

“It. Is. A. State. Issue.”

Kansas? Where the legislature is willing to circumvent the election results? That kind of state issue? God help us from ourselves. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.7  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.1.5    one week ago

Again....

So are you saying the republicans in congress could not pass legislation?

 
 
 
George
Freshman Guide
2.1.8  George  replied to  afrayedknot @2.1.6    one week ago

When you can't dispute the article make some bullshit deflection. Check 

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
2.1.9  afrayedknot  replied to  George @2.1.8    one week ago

See 2.1.5 lest you go off half-cocked. FIRE…aim…ready…

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.1.10  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @2.1.7    one week ago

See 2.1.  If you need have somebody explain it to you

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.11  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.1.10    one week ago

So, you either have no answer or refuse to answer...

 
 
 
Jeremy Retired in NC
Professor Expert
2.1.12  Jeremy Retired in NC  replied to  Ender @2.1.11    one week ago

[deleted]

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1.13  Ender  replied to  Jeremy Retired in NC @2.1.12    one week ago

So according to you, congress can do nothing about it....Ok....

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3  Trout Giggles    one week ago

Protections for crisis pregnancy centers??? Fuck no!!! They're all religious. Religious institutions don't need federal protections.

And if these anti-choicers get their wish I want to see them lined up at the adoption agencies

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
3.1  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @3    one week ago

All these pregnancy centers are, are anti abortion centers.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @3.1    one week ago

Yep and that's why they don't need federal protections whatever the hell that means

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
3.1.2  afrayedknot  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1.1    one week ago

“…they don't need federal protections…”

Hell, do like my brother-in-law and offer classes at their church to protect themselves with conceal-carry training in the event of an attack.

Same crowd, same fears, same shame. 

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  afrayedknot @3.1.2    one week ago

Why are Christians so afraid to meet their maker?

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
3.1.4  afrayedknot  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1.3    one week ago

“Why are Christians so afraid to meet their maker?”

The age old question.

They use the fear of spending an unknown afterlife to convert the ‘lost’, ignoring the fear they generate in this, their only real life.

An odd, rather contradictory perspective. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
3.1.5  seeder  JBB  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1.3    one week ago

Because deep inside they know they are evil sinners doomed to Hell for abusing the Name of God for ungodly desires...

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3.1.6  Trout Giggles  replied to  JBB @3.1.5    one week ago

You mean they're afraid?

jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Sophomore Quiet
3.1.7  afrayedknot  replied to  JBB @3.1.5    one week ago

“…Because deep inside they know…”

….because deep inside they don’t know, can’t know, will never know.

Seeking solace in thinking they know and confirming that hope into projecting into and onto everything and everyone in their forlorn faith.

Believe what one will and peace to all, but don’t condemn those who choose to walk a different path, and never, ever presume to legislate your morality upon those who do.  

 
 
 
George
Freshman Guide
3.2  George  replied to  Trout Giggles @3    one week ago
Religious institutions don't need federal protections.

[deleted

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4  Ender    one week ago

Why does the right wing cow down to the few nutjobs. They let the nutjobs run wild and run the party.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Ender @4    one week ago

Because thinking is hard work and if some looney tunes like Large Marge comes along and starts shooting her mouth off it's a lot easier to just go along than to stand up to her. Probably safer and a lot less scary

 
 
 
CB
Professor Principal
5  CB     one week ago

And the 'usual conservatives' will pretend it is their 'right' to check the national birth rates in this country are 'status quo-ed.'  They can't control conservative girls and women; but they want to 'reach over' into liberal apartments and homes and insist on complete compliance. Can anything be more sick?! Damn busybody malcontents. Next, they will be talking about how they don't mess with anybody and why some other citizens are wrong to feel victimized by their strong-arm tactics.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6  Buzz of the Orient    one week ago

d252.jpg

Need I say more?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
7  Buzz of the Orient    one week ago

Republican pin-up girl

IMG_5793.jpg

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
7.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @7    one week ago

Not wrong.

 
 

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