This weekend marks one year since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which rightfully overturned flawed judicial precedent and returned the issue of abortion back to the states. Since then, the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate has been a central feature of our political landscape, perhaps more than ever before. As Chairwoman of the Republican Party – and a mother of two – I’d like to make three things abundantly clear.
Number one: thanks to the tireless advocacy of the faith community, the Dobbs decision saved countless lives and has set America on a positive course. We are trending in the right direction after decades of shameful abortion on-demand practices that put us in a global category alongside countries like China and North Korea. Number two: Republican voters and politicians have to talk about the Dobbs decision in clear, strong terms and hold Democrats accountable for being far out of the mainstream on this crucial issue. Number three: Republicans must have this conversation with empathy, delicacy, and understanding. I know firsthand how serious it is to bring a child into this world. This is not a simple policy discussion – it’s a matter of life and death. (RELATED: E.V. OSMENT: Dear Dobbs Leaker — Congrats! You Failed Miserably)
Roe v. Wade – which even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thought was bad law – put America in an unenviable category of its own. While the majority of European countries limit elective abortions after 15 weeks, Roe had no such backstop. Roe’s undoing has already saved lives and will continue to do so for decades to come. By letting states decide the abortion policies that best suit their populations, the Dobbs decision has removed the federal government from this intimate decision, and in doing so, has protected life across America. This court decision was the product of decades of hard work, consistent prayer, and unshakeable faith from Christian leaders over the course of decades. Christian voters who registered and educated congregations to vote for pro-life candidates and party platforms reflecting Biblical values drove this victory for life.
When Americans understand the scope of the pro-life debate, they overwhelmingly side with Republicans. Polling shows that when the choice is between a Democrat who wants zero abortion restrictions and a Republican who supports protecting life at 15 weeks, Republicans win by 22 points. Seventy-two percent of voters – including 60% of Democrats – support protecting unborn children after 15 weeks, when a baby can start feeling pain. Forty-seven out of fifty European countries limit access to abortion after that same cutoff. The American people understand that it’s absolutely crucial to have common-sense restrictions on abortion. Unfortunately, Democrats don’t feel the same way: most of them, including Joe Biden, refuse to say if they support any restrictions on abortion whatsoever. The idea that prominent Democrats refuse to condemn late-term abortions, when babies can feel pain and survive outside the womb, is downright dystopian. That’s why Republicans need to tout our positions proudly.
We are the pro-women, pro-family party. We can win on abortion, but that means putting Democrats on defense and forcing them to own their extreme positions. Candidates who refuse to do so are consigning themselves to a hurricane of misinformation and bad-faith attacks – during the midterm cycle, Democrats spent nearly $360 million on abortion-related ads. If we abandon this debate, the vacuum gets filled with those lies. As Chairwoman of the RNC, I have repeatedly advised our party’s leaders to embrace this debate head-on. However, we must do so with tremendous empathy. We are working to protect life, not attack people with different approaches to this issue. We’ve seen what happens when this emotionally-charged debate reaches a fever pitch – far-left radicals have been firebombing churches and pregnancy centers with no meaningful response from Biden’s FBI. (RELATED: SUZANNE DOWNING: Knives Out For The Supreme Court)
This conversation cannot include violence. We have to work together to place America back in the mainstream and ensure that we have the same common-sense abortion restrictions that the vast majority of the civilized nations also uphold. Republicans are well-equipped to lead that charge.
Ronna Romney McDaniel is chairwoman of the Republican National Committee.
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