WASHINGTON, D.C., April 28, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Republicans should abandon the unborn for electoral victory, one of the nation's leading abortion supporters wrote on Sunday.
Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, wrote in a column for MSNBC that “many in the GOP are beginning to understand the severe cost of an agenda so far out of step with most Americans.” That “agenda,” says Hogue, is “dangerous state laws that severely limit a woman's constitutional right to access legal abortion.”
Calling pro-life policies representative of “a deep-seated, regressive perspective on women’s roles and real lives in the GOP’s anti-abortion policies,” Hogue praised a Republican state representative in Oklahoma who voted against a bill that she wrote would “would restrict access to emergency contraception.”
Hogue also cited a statement by former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and the decision by the Nevada Republican Party to drop abortion from its platform as evidence that some in the GOP understand that “elected politicians should not be making the most deeply personal decisions for their constituents.”
Hogue's op-ed includes at least one factual error: She accused former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee of saying “that contraception is for women who 'cannot control their libido.'” In fact, Huckabee said that Democrats “insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government.” Huckabee said it was Democrats, not Republicans, who believed women were subject to uncontrollable lust.
In her column, Hogue says that “those who would put obstacles in the way of women seeking abortion care are the ones on the fringe.” Hogue's evidence is a poll in January 2013 showing that approximately 70 percent of Americans want Roe v. Wade to continue being the law of the land. That same poll showed that a majority of Americans want restrictions on abortion, something NARAL says it supports on its website.
Hogue's comments led to a backlash among pro-life political leaders on both principles and political tactics. According to Republican National Committee spokesman Raffi Williams, “standing for life is a principle, not a political calculation. NARAL telling the Republican Party we should stop protecting the life of the unborn is like Donald Sterling offering advice to the NAACP.”
“Pass,” he concluded.
Justin Higgins, a political activist and pundit who runs JHPolitics.com and covers national politics as well as Virginia politics, told LifeSiteNews that “NARAL and the pro-abortion lobby are misconstruing the impact of being a pro-life politician.”
“Here in Virginia in 2013, Ken Cuccinelli didn't lose because he was pro-life. He lost because he ignored the issue while pro-abortion Democrats defined his position. The fact is that NARAL and their allies are the real radicals on the issue,” said Higgins. “They point to a poll that shows a majority of Americans supporting Roe, but the same poll shows almost 70 percent of Americans want some limits on who can attain an abortion, and they reject NARAL's abortion-on-demand philosophy.”
“Being pro-life is a winning position, if you're willing to stake out your ground and show yourself to be more mainstream than the abortion lobby suggests,” Higgins concluded.
Sean Trende, Senior Elections Analyst for Real Clear Politics, said the political calculation is in favor of Republicans keeping the pro-life movement relevant within the party. “Most people don’t vote on abortion-related issues. Those that do, tend to skew Republican,” Trende told LifeSiteNews. Furthermore, said Trende, “the 'abortion gap' tends not to be a 'gender gap.' Religiosity is a much stronger predictor of attitudes on abortion than gender.”
Looking at presidential politics, Trende said that “Mitt Romney won more votes from white evangelicals than Obama won from blacks and Hispanics combined. Any plan to move away from white evangelicals has to include a realistic means for [Republicans] to replace those votes.”
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A spokesperson for the campaign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, Allison Moore, told LifeSiteNews that while “winning elections is very important for Mitch McConnell, some things are even more important. He has a deep held conviction that innocent life should be protected and will never compromise that conviction to score cheap points.”
In her column, Hogue concluded that “the wind is at the backs of those of us who stand up for women.” With a majority of women in favor of abortion restrictions, and a growing number of young people in America self-identifying as “pro-life,” 2014 and 2016 could be harbingers of doom for the GOP, or a time of continued growth among support for the unborn and others harmed by abortion.
But Race42016.com founder and editor Kavon Nikrad agreed. “Gallup's most recent survey shows that 46 percent of American women are pro-life; and these women overwhelmingly support the Republican Party. Any overt effort by the GOP or its candidates to appeal to pro-choice women on this issue would almost certainly result in defections by the Republicans Party's most loyal supporters, resulting in electoral disaster.”
“Rather than choosing to abandon one of its most deeply-held principles,” Nikrad said, “the GOP would be better served by doing a better job explaining to women voters what it means to stand for life.”