‘A wake-up call’: More Republicans are softening their strong anti-abortion stance | Republicans

A growing number of Republicans have been shifting their stances on abortions since Roe’s fall to Wade in the run-up to the US midterm elections, signaling a softened change from their previously staunch anti-abortion stances.

Since the Supreme Court struck down the federal abortion law in June, many Republicans are taking more compromised positions in an attempt to win votes in key states through a slew of changes in messaging on websites, advertisements and public statements.

The rulings come amid a fierce backlash to the ruling that has revived hopes for Democrats in the midterm elections and even see a solidly red state like Kansas vote in a referendum to retain some rights to abortion.

As the midterm elections approached, abortion also served as a major motivator for female voters across the country, especially among Democrats and fueling striking successes in special elections for the party seeking to hold both houses of Congress.

According to a new investigation by the Pew Research Center, 56% of voters say the issue of abortion will be “very important” to them in this fall’s election, marking a significant increase from 43% in March.

Additionally, an increase Number of states, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, are seeing growing gender gaps among new registrants since the Supreme Court struck down federal abortion rights, according to Democratic data services firm TargetSmart.

As a result, Republicans are increasingly recognizing that the abortion issue could cost them dearly at the polls as they attempt to take control of the House and Senate.

The difficulty of moving from enthusiastic anti-abortion rhetoric to a more complicated reality for many Republicans was clearly illustrated by the Kansas referendum. The generally reliable Republican state voted to keep abortion protections in its constitution, giving an unprecedented boost to the abortion rights movement in red-state America.

“Voting earlier this summer in Kansas is a wake-up call for Republicans who not only are the most extreme restrictions on abortion with voters, but the whole issue has turned into a Democratic motivation to surrender. at the polls,” said Republican strategist Barrett Marson. the Guardian.

“Over the years, it has been acceptable to advocate for the strictest abortion regulations in a Republican primary because abortion was generally protected by Roe v Wade. Now it is no longer theoretical. So now the most restrictive policies have real consequences. And suburban women give more weight to a candidate’s stance on abortion when considering who to vote for,” he added.

Earlier this week, a Republican Senate candidate in washington state said she was against abortion — but supported a state law that guarantees the right to abortion until fetal viability.

“I respect Washington State voters,” said Tiffany Smiley, who previously declared herself “100% pro-life.” “They have long decided their position on the matter,” she added, referring to state law passed in 1991.

In a a d Released last week, Smiley told viewers she was “pro-life but I opposed a federal ban on abortion.” The announcement came in response to an announcement by Patty Murray, Smiley’s Democratic incumbent, who called Smiley “Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked candidate”, referring to the Senate Republican leader known for his anti-ideal views. -abortion and pushing to stack the Supreme Court with conservative justices opposed to abortion.

Murray’s ad claimed that if elected, Smiley would support a federal ban on abortion.

“Murray is trying to scare you, I’m trying to serve you.” Smiley said, “I made it clear in my announcement that…I am not for a federal ban on abortion. You know, the extreme in this race is Patty Murray. She is for the federalization of abortion.

Nonetheless, earlier this year, Smiley’s campaign accepted the endorsement of Republican Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn, a staunch anti-abortion activist who previously introduced a bill in the Senate that sought to strip all abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, of federal funding.

Another Republican whose shift in position was more apparent than Smiley’s is Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters.

In a March interview with Catholic news outlet EWTN, Masters said“Every society has had child sacrifice or has had human sacrifice in one form or another, and this is our form. And it has to stop,” referring to abortions.

Since then, Masters has seemed to soften his views on abortion. In August, the candidate supported by Donald Trump published a a d who said, “Listen, I support banning very late and partial abortion. And most Americans agree with that. It would simply put us on an equal footing with other civilized nations.

Additionally, Masters made changes to his campaign website which once stated that he supported the “Federal Personality Act” and was “100% pro-life”. Its current website reads, “Protect Babies, Don’t Let Them Be Killed,” followed by “Democrats lie about my views on abortion.”

According to his current campaign website, Masters would support a federal ban on third-trimester abortion. Previously, its website said that he supported a constitutional amendment that “recognizes that unborn babies are human beings[s] who cannot be killed”.

Pro-abortion group Susan B Anthony Pro-Life America came to the defense of Masters’ shifting stance. “Blake Masters has rightly centered his position on what is achievable now at the federal level: a limit on abortions to the point where the unborn child can experience excruciating pain,” said the organization’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser.

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen signaled a similar softening in his stance on abortion.
Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen signaled a similar softening in his stance on abortion. Photograph: Steve Karnowski/AP

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen signaled a similar softening in his stance on abortion. In a interview with Minnesota Public Radio in March, Jensen said, “I would try to outlaw abortion. I think we’re basically in a situation where we should be governed by…there’s no reason for us to have abortions.

However, Jensen backtracked on his remarks a few months later. In a video released in July, Jensen said he supported abortions in cases of rape or incest or if the woman’s life is in danger.

Jensen described his earlier comments as awkward, saying, “I never thought it was necessary to try to identify what those exceptions might be with respect to legal abortion or not, because I I’ve always thought that when I’m defending the life of the pregnant woman, and if her mental state and physical health is in danger or compromised, that’s all there is to say.

Despite Jensen’s edited comments, not everyone is convinced that he is sincere in his position. Minnesota Democratic Party Chairman Ken Martin said if Jensen is elected, he will still try to pass an abortion law that doesn’t make exceptions for rape or incest.

“There is no reason to assume that Governor Scott Jensen would not attempt to pass the ban on abortion – with no exceptions for rape and incest – which he has repeatedly supported,” he said. he said in a statement. statement.

In May, Iowa Republican candidate Zach Nunn raised his hand during a primary debate when asked if “all abortions, without exception” should be illegal.

Nunn also voted for a measure requiring women seeking abortions to wait 72 hours. The measure included an exception to protect the life of the mother but did not mention cases of rape and incest.

Nunn’s Democratic opponent, Rep. Cindy Axne, published a political ad against him that used images of him raising his hand in the primary. “Even in case of rape, even in case of incest, even if a woman’s life is in danger – who will take away a woman’s right to make her own decisions, whatever the circumstances? Zach Nunn,” the video says.

In response to the video, Nunn changed his tone in an op-ed he published last month, saying, “I am pro-life and support the protection of mother and baby life.” He accused Axne of taking his comments out of context and went on to say, “This issue is too important: the people of Iowa deserve to be heard.”

In the editorial, Nunn said he supported abortion in “exceptions for horrific circumstances like rape, incest, and fetal abnormalities, and to save the life of the mother.”

As many Republicans seek votes from moderate and independent voters, some political strategists worry that all of this effort to reconfigure their positions on abortion will negatively impact their political momentum, especially more than Democrats are making the issue a cornerstone of their own campaigns.

“While the economy and inflation are expected to be the biggest issue this cycle, Republican candidates must now defend their positions on eliminating all or most abortion options,” Marson said.

“Every time they don’t speak [about the] economy and inflation, they lose opportunities.

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