Pro-life activists and voters proved pivotal in Republican victories in Congress and in several states. So far, however, their efforts are not being rewarded in public statements by GOP leaders.
According to Open Secrets, pro-life campaign contributions totalled approximately $1.4 million in 2013 and 2014. Additionally, Women Speak Out PAC — whose members include the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List — worked 14 campaign offices in three battleground states. In a press release, SBA and Women Speak Out president Marjorie Dannenfelser said that “759 field representatives…reached more than 875,000 pro-life voters who typically do not vote in midterm elections.”
Between the PAC and SBA list, $5 million dollars were spent on five Senate races in Arkansas, North Carolina, Iowa, Kansas, and Louisiana. Four of those five races ended in GOP victories, with Louisiana's Senate race going to a runoff on December 6. It is expected to be close, with a slight Republican advantage.
Dannenfelser immediately called upon Republicans to pass the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” through both chambers of Congress. The bill, which would ban most late-term abortions, has received a pledge of support by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY. McConnell had previously vowed that Republicans would pass the legislation through the Senate if Republicans controlled the chamber.
However, in a press conference on Wednesday, McConnell's prepared remarks did not include mention of any pro-life bill.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-OH, also focused a statement and a press briefing in the days after the election on the economy, taxes, debt, regulations, and education, as well as other economic issues.
A co-authored op-ed by Boehner and McConnell that was published on Wednesday night did not discuss life issues, focusing instead of taxes, debt, national security, and repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Likewise, hours after Republicans took the Senate, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement that “Republicans have been given the opportunity to lead the country in a better direction, and the Republican House and Senate are ready to listen to the American people.”
“We hope President Obama will too,” said Preibus. “It's time to get to work on creating jobs, expanding American energy development, pursuing real healthcare reform, reducing spending, reining in the federal government, and keeping America safe.”
On Election Day, an email from Priebus to the Republican National Committee's full list of supporters said that “Americans are tired of the President and his misguided agenda.” That agenda, according to Priebus, includes “Obamacare and the rising cost of health care,” deficit spending, “affordable energy,” and “threats like ISIS and Ebola,” among other issues. Priebus said that a vote for Republicans is a vote to “end the gridlock and finally get our legislation moving again,” especially with regards to “over 40 jobs bills…”
Nowhere in the email were abortion or same-sex “marriage” mentioned.
Abortion was tangentially referenced when Priebus said that “the Republican-led House of Representatives has passed over 350 bills, including over 40 jobs bills, that the Democrat-controlled Senate will not even put up for a vote.” The House has passed two pro-life bills.
According to RNC spokesperson Raffi Williams, the email reflected the beliefs of faith leaders. “Our Faith Director, Chad Connelly, has been traveling the country meeting with and talking to pastors and people of faith for the past two years. During these meetings the issue that has come up the most is the lack of leadership in the White House and Senate that has allowed our economy to falter and our standing in the world to diminish,” Williams said.
“We are proud of our pro-life, pro-family stance as a party,” said Williams, “and that is why the Chairman included them publicly in the Principles for American Renewal.” In the Principles, the RNC says that “Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.”
Priebus has spent much of 2014 informing life and family voters that the GOP supports their issues. In March, he told LifeSiteNews that attending the March for Life was “a little bit of a wake-up call for me as a chairman.”
According to Priebus, the appreciation of pro-life leaders for his attendance of the March, as well as the attendance of other RNC delegates, reminded him that “maybe we need to start reminding people about the core positions of our party more, so that we can grow in places where we're strong.”
Also in March, he said that the GOP is “a party that believes marriage ought to be between one man and one woman,” though he qualified the statement by telling reporter Betsy Woodruff that he is “not walking on down the street” stating the party's position.
“If someone wants to ask me, like you did, I didn't dance” around the issue, Priebus told Woodruff. “I answered the question head-on, I'm very clear, and that's what you should expect out of the party.”