AMAC MAGAZINE: Volume 18, Issue 1 - JAN/FEB 2024

wasn’t always the political albatross we’ve all been told it is. In 2022, Georgia’s pro-life Governor Brian Kemp won re-election by eight points in a state where Democrats won the last two Senate contests. Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio, meanwhile, won re-election by 25 points just months after a law he signed restricting abortion to the first six weeks of pregnancy went into effect. Pro-life politicians also won in Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and elsewhere. Polling shows that two-thirds of Americans think abortion should be limited to the first trimester in most cases — meaning the public is closer to the average conservative position than the liberal view that elective abortions should be legal at any stage of pregnancy, even until the moment of birth. The Republican consultants blaming pro-lifers for their losses have also failed to account for how myriad other factors, including candidate quality and bad campaign strategy, have influenced the outcome of many races. A Political Necessity Rather than distancing them- selves from the “life issue,” Repub- licans would do well to embrace it even more. Polling consistently shows that around 75 percent of Republicans and just under half of Independents consider themselves to be pro-life — a cohort that Republicans absolutely need to win any election.

Furthermore, while liberals will point to the legions of pro-abortion protestors marching in the streets as evidence of how much the issue motivates people to vote Demo- crat, defending life is perhaps the one issue on which conservatives can match the left’s activist enthu- siasm. (Is there any other conserva- tive cause for which up to 800,000 people gather to push for legislative change, as is the case with the annual March for Life?) The real political danger for Repub- licans is if pro-life voters become discouraged or indifferent because the GOP abandons them. A Messaging Failure and Fundraising Shortfall It is undoubtedly true that the pro-life movement has suffered a series of electoral setbacks over the past 18 months. But a more accurate interpretation of these results, particularly when it comes to abortion ballot initiatives, centers on the messaging failure on the part of Republicans, not an inherent weakness in the pro-life issue itself. The fact that the left has successfully framed the debate as one of “pro-choice” vs. “anti-abortion” rather than the reality of “pro-life” vs. “pro-abortion” is evidence enough of this. Rather than avoiding the pro-life issue, Republican operatives and politicians should ask themselves if they’re doing enough to ensure voters understand Democrats’ radi- calism on the issue.


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