In a reversal of their fortunes for most of the summer months, Democrats are struggling in the home stretch of the election cycle while pro-life GOP candidates see growing momentum on their side — good news for the pro-life movement.
What’s more, pro-life candidates’ resurgence in the polls comes in spite of historic spending by Democrats on abortion-focused TV ads — a staggering $343 million and counting since the beginning of this year, at least twice as much as on any other issue. It comes despite Democratic heavy hitters like former President Barack Obama cutting ads for candidates in six states, directly referencing abortion.
According to The New York Times, a substantial shift occurred from September to October, particularly among Independent women voters. If you ask most in the media, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s proposal to set a minimum federal limit on abortions after 15 weeks — a point when unborn babies can feel pain — and its embrace by GOP candidates had absolutely, positively nothing to do with it. (RELATED: SANTORUM: Conservative Tax Dollars Are Being Burned On Abortion Ads Attacking Republican Candidates. Here’s How)
In the weeks that followed Dobbs, Democrats hammered the GOP on abortion and framed the issue in the most negative light possible — accusing Republicans of seeking a total national ban on abortion with no exceptions, not even for the life of the mother, the moment they control Congress. Faced with a barrage of lies, too many Republicans shrunk away.
Media outlets excitedly chased stories of rising voter registration among women, who would presumably vote pro-abortion. But based on decades of polling data, we know women are even more supportive than men of limits on late-term abortion. This was true before Dobbs and it is true after Dobbs, with a Harvard-Harris poll showing 72% of voters support limiting abortion no later than 15 weeks including 75% of women, 70% of Independents and 60% of rank-and-file Democrats — while only 10% support the Democrats’ position of abortion on demand until birth.
When Sen. Graham introduced legislation in September that would stop California and New York from setting an egregiously low standard on protecting life for our entire nation, he staked out a position firmly in line with both public opinion and the rest of the civilized world.
In doing so, he flipped the script — giving pro-life GOP candidates everywhere the political gift of contrast that would help them take back the narrative and win.
Democrats were forced to go on the record in favor of late-term abortion and in opposition to any limits. This has been most visible in the debates, with high-profile candidates such as Marco Rubio, Blake Masters, J.D. Vance, Ted Budd and Herschel Walker going on offense to expose the Democratic Party position as far outside the mainstream. In governors’ races, too, candidates like Kari Lake and Ron DeSantis have shown what it means to be fearless.
Now even the White House is on the run. After the bad New York Times story came out, President Joe Biden held a pro-abortion rally where he promised that if Democrats gain majorities in the House and Senate, the Abortion on Demand Until Birth Act is the first thing he’ll sign. But on Oct. 26, he refused to comment on blue-state Democrats’ efforts to enshrine an unlimited “right” to abortion in their constitutions.
It’s time for pro-life candidates to finish strong and sprint across the finish line. In support of them, SBA Pro-Life America is flexing its political muscle in the final days, communicating this strong winning contrast with a total of more than eight million key voters across the biggest 2022 battlegrounds. Our ground team is visiting four million voters at their doorsteps as part of this historic effort — reaching persuadable voters and low propensity pro-life voters who have the power to deliver the margin of victory in highly competitive races.
We hear the voters saying it makes a difference.
One Georgia woman voted for Stacey Abrams in the past, but said she won’t this election, because she believes there should be some limits on abortion and that the Democrats have gone too far.
In Florida, Ninoska met a black voter who was stunned to learn that abortion is legal up to nine months in America. Although he is a Democrat, he has decided to vote against Val Demings and Charlie Crist after hearing about their radical agenda.
This Election Day, voters have many issues on their minds thanks to the many failures of the Biden administration. We know from experience that some critics will be quick to dismiss the role of the life issue if pro-life candidates succeed, claiming it was the economy or crime that won the day (just as they’ll be quick to blame us if things don’t turn out the way they hope).
These criticisms have been shortsighted and wrong for decades. While other issues may ultimately prove more salient, abortion has undoubtedly played a role – one that works to savvy GOP candidates’ advantage.
Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of SBA Pro-Life America.
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