The Republican National Committee is doubling down on its anti-abortion stance by urging all GOP candidates and lawmakers to “go on offense” in the 2024 election cycle and pass the strictest anti-abortion legislation possible.
In a resolution passed Friday during its winter meeting, the committee called on Republicans to pass laws “that acknowledge the beating hearts and experiences of pain in the unborn.” Such language has been used to pass “heartbeat” bills that would ban abortions at six weeks, before many people know they are pregnant.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, Democrats made abortion a key issue in the midterm elections, leading to a larger majority in the Senate and a slim GOP majority in the House.
Voters across the country handed decisive victories to abortion rights advocates, as results from elections just months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade showed access to abortion was a key issue for voters.
While the GOP largely focused on the three-pronged message of combating rising inflation, crime, and the flow of migrants over the southern border, exit polls showed that abortion was a top priority for voters at the ballot box.
The RNC resolution, passed just after Ronna McDaniel won her fourth term as RNC chairwoman, accused Republican candidates of failing to capitalize on the Supreme Court’s decision, and alluded to a well-funded opposition “concealing their extremism while mischaracterizing and vilifying pro-life Republican candidates.”
Instead of fighting back, the resolution said many Republican candidates allowed Democrats to define their position.
Anti-abortion advocates have argued that many Republicans missed an opportunity by not being more consistent in labeling Democrats as “extreme” on abortion.
“Polling consistently shows that a majority of Americans support national, state, and local limits on abortion, with just a fringe minority supporting the Democratic position of no limits by gestational age, suspect classification, or other neutral characteristic,” the resolution stated.
Leading anti-abortion groups have argued Republicans knew that Democrats would be energized because of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, and the candidates should have embraced it.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) were among those with anti-abortion stances who handily won reelection in 2022.
“In 2022, too many GOP candidates used the ‘Ostrich Strategy’ in which they put their heads in the sand, pretended the issue of abortion didn’t exist, and let Democrats spend hundreds of millions of dollars distorting their pro-life positions and defining them as extremists,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, said in a statement Monday.
“The RNC’s pro-life resolution sends a bold message to GOP candidates, campaigns and consultants that in order to win in 2024 they must stay on offense by drawing a strong contrast and exposing Democratic extremism,” Dannenfelser said.