If politics is a matter of addition, not subtraction, then Republicans would benefit from another way of looking at abortion policy. Consider what tighter abortion policies are likely to sacrifice in reduced support from independents and moderate Republicans — especially suburban women — against the overall balance sheet of our national civic society and conservative priorities. Many pro-life adherents might object in horror at an equation with the morality of life on one hand weighed against a variety of other policies, but reflect further.
The recent data points of Kansas’ referendum on abortion, the Michigan midterm where abortion was a central issue, the just-ended Wisconsin Supreme Court election, and the 2022 midterms all make clear that Republicans will pay a heavy electoral price for stricter abortion policies. And the Democrats reportedly spent $350mm politicizing it. The President’s re-election announcement focused on it. They have their wedge issue, if the Republicans continue to give it to them.
As the saying goes, “winners get to govern; losers stay home.” (RELATED: E.V. OSMENT: Dear Dobbs Leaker — Congrats! You Failed Miserably)
So here’s what the Republicans put at risk by letting Democrats, especially President Biden, govern:
National defense. Few doubt that Republicans are stronger on this issue. Further, President Biden’s catastrophic Afghan withdrawal has weakened our allies’ trust in us. Recent reports suggest ISIS is restoring its presence in Afghanistan. How tragic.
And who can doubt that the Afghan withdrawal in part emboldened Putin to invade Ukraine? The lives of American soldiers are at greater risk as our policy of deterence deteriorates.
Fiscal responsibility. While Republicans have been far from perfect, it’s clear that blow-out spending pushed by Progressives has exacerbated inflation and added trillions to our national debt. How much will this additional debt constrain our national objectives going forward? What won’t we be able to do?
It’s not just about money. The negative social corollaries to our bloated spending are numerous. Consider just the issue of work requirements for welfare eligibility. Such requirements are useful in so many ways, from expanding the work force to enhanced self-esteem.
Border security. Our senseless open borders have created chaos throughout the country. Are there any Democrats willing to recognize this ongoing disaster? The costs in human trafficking are significant, and what portion of our yearly 100,000+ American fentanyl deaths can be directly attributed to drug smuggling across our open borders?
Quality education. The fight by Democrat-allied teachers unions against charters and other school reforms has never been more clear. How many children will lose the opportunity for a better education as Democrat governments beholden to those unions restrict and limit school choice wherever they can?
Identity politics. Most voters on the right see real costs from the policies that the Administration is pushing throughout the administrative state at all levels and in innumerable ways. And what long term damage is being done to our society as some lose the self esteem that comes from individual achievement, thanks to a climate of victimhood and entitlements?
Public safety. Throughout the country, especially in cities but also in Democrat-run states, progressive policies on crime and defund the police have lead to a deteriorating public safety environment. This has lead to more violent crime and greater risks to law enforcement officers.
Energy Security. Certainly any administration should be looking for rational ways to increase the use of renewables. But the crazy zigzagging of the Biden administration, which has limited oil and gas exploration on federal lands, while simultaneously asking the Saudis to increase oil production, has lead to chaotic swings in energy prices and higher inflation than would otherwise pertain. Our prior energy independence based on “all of the above” was a wonderful development. Not only was it good for our national economy, but if our foreign energy dependence increases so will the likelihood that we will have to put American soldiers’ lives at risk defending energy sources around the world.
So our balance sheet shows at least seven critical policy areas where ceding control to Democrats is significantly adverse to our country’s future. Such loss of control risks American lives as a direct result, both near term and long term, and not just physically, but also in terms of mental health and human fulfillment. This list doesn’t even include numerous other policy issues at risk, from taxes to over-regulation.
Certainly those left-of-center will ask about gun control. That’s truly a major issue where Republicans need fresh thought, but it’s not likely not to have as much of an impact on election outcome.
So if over 60% of the country believes in conditional access to abortion, then for the sake of 9 weeks — the difference between 6 and a more universally acceptable 15 weeks — are Republicans really willing to sacrifice policy control over all seven policy items above?
A party that generally embraces the principle of individual responsibility should be more reluctant to impose government mandates on its citizens, especially when a clear majority object.
And finally, consider this: if Republican endorsement of abortion policy stricter than 15 weeks results in the Democrats gaining broader control of government, then what about the risk that government could mandate broader abortion access in ways offensive to what pro-life advocates want? Isn’t that a real risk, a risk that actually increases over time?
Given all the above wouldn’t a compromise around 15 weeks make sense?
Peter Bowe is the former CEO of Ellicott Dredges, the Publisher of DredgeWire and the Founder of the Bowe-Stewart Foundation.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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