(LifeSiteNews) — There were plenty of conservative cynics who said that the only people more terrified at the spectre of Roe v. Wade being overturned than the Democrats were the Republicans. Why? Because for decades, pro-life Americans – even those who didn’t much care for anything else on the GOP platform – dutifully turned out to vote Republican in the hopes that a 5-4 Supreme Court would finally overturn Roe and send the issue back to the states. Once Roe was gone, one of their most reliable vote-getters would be gone, plus a lot of fundraising to boot.
Plenty of GOP strategists liked Roe a lot more than they liked the pro-life movement (Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List details this story – naming names – in her 2020 memoir Life is Winning). And now Roe is gone.
As the pro-life movement deals with setbacks on the state level after the Dobbs decision, we are getting a first-hand look at who was defending the sanctity of human life and who was merely playing politics with the lives of the pre-born.
As I noted in an essay for First Things earlier this year, former President Donald Trump was one of the first to pivot away from the pro-life movement – in May, he actually attacked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing a six-week abortion ban, calling it “too harsh” to protect babies in the womb and earning stern rebukes from other pro-life governors who had signed protections for pre-born children. Activists with Students for Life of America have been protesting his rallies with signs reading “Make Trump Pro-Life Again.” I don’t think that will happen – Trump was a fair-weather pro-lifer.
I was much less surprised to see Kari Lake, the failed gubernatorial candidate from Arizona, flip on the abortion issue – she is a cynical opportunist and a shameless liar who has attacked pro-life candidates without the slightest regard for truth. During her gubernatorial campaign, she was bullish on the pro-life issue, calling abortion the “ultimate sin” and supporting a ban. Now, however, she opposes a federal 15-week ban on abortion (a law that is significantly more liberal than the majority of most European countries). Why? Because she wishes to be in step with what she perceives to be public opinion on the issue. Her “principles” were actually politics.
I also noted in this space back in August that Sean Hannity, the GOP’s voice on Fox News who reliably parrots the party line, also buckled after years of preening about his pro-life credentials, suggesting that abortion should remain “legal.” After decades of setbacks for the pro-life movement, a single year of negative electoral outcomes was all it took for Hannity to abandon both his characteristic bravado as well as his alleged convictions.
The same goes for Ann Coulter, who accurately called out abortion for what it is in many of her bestselling books and columns and regularly decried the barbarism of feticide in her TV appearances – especially when she was seeking to take a shot at the liberals. Now, she is parroting the Democrat line that abortion is an electoral loser and that as a result, the GOP should abandon the babies to the abortionists. “PRO-LIFERS ARE GOING TO WIPE OUT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY,” she posted on X on November 8. “IN ADDITION to losing Ohio Tuesday night, Gov Glenn Youngkin lost big in Virginia – because of pro-life zealots.”
PRO-LIFERS ARE GOING TO WIPE OUT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
IN ADDITION to losing Ohio Tuesday night, Gov Glenn Youngkin lost big in Virginia — because of pro-life zealots.
A 15-week abortion limit would have been fine with VA voters, but Republicans couldn’t promise to stop there…
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) November 8, 2023
She went on: “A 15-week abortion limit would have been fine with VA voters, but Republicans couldn’t promise to stop there without risking a primary challenge from FULL-BAN pro-lifers. My No. 1 compromise position still stands: Make abortion illegal only for registered Republicans.” This is a woman who used to make defending pre-born children a fundamental part of her commentary. Now, she is upset that those who remain consistent in their belief that abortion kills babies – something she used to believe, as well – are holding back the Republican Party. (To which one is tempted to ask: from what, exactly?)
Myself, I’ve been keeping a list these days. It is enlightening to discover who viewed pre-born lives as props to further their political or media careers and who genuinely believed in the sanctity of human life. There are some books on my shelf downstairs that need tossing.
I find myself agreeing with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who eloquently said: “The people that aren’t supportive of the life cause, they’re not people you want to be in a foxhole with on any other political battle. They are the first ones who will sell out to the D.C. establishment when the going gets tough.”