On Friday, Ronna Romney McDaniel won her fourth term as chair of the Republican National Committee, and one of her first orders of business was to pass a resolution pledging that the party would get even more aggressive on abortion. The RNC resolution urges Republicans to “go on offense” on abortion in the 2024 election cycle and calls for state and federal lawmakers to “pass the strongest pro-life legislation possible,” such as bans on abortion at about six weeks, when embryonic cardiac activity can first be detected on an ultrasound.
Republicans had been playing the blame game on abortion following the disastrous midterm elections in which the party vastly underperformed in the House and lost a Senate seat, and the pro-choice position won in all five states that had abortion ballot measures.
The midterms created a bit of a schism among conservatives, with groups like Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America claiming Republican candidates lost because they didn’t talk enough about wanting to ban abortion nationwide. SBA Pro-Life is the same group that threatened candidates for not publicly supporting a federal 15-week abortion ban, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Meanwhile, President Donald Trump—the man who nominated three of the Supreme Court Justices who overturned Roe v. Wade—argued that losing candidates were too extreme on abortion. (He’s right, but it’s deeply ironic for him to suggest closing the Pandora’s Box he himself opened.) Even Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) called out her party for pursuing multiple anti-abortion votes in their first week controlling the House.
And now it appears the party is going to pursue a deeply unpopular nationwide abortion ban. Unsurprisingly, SBA Pro-Life America loves the new RNC resolution. The group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said in a statement that it “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.”
She even doubled down on the idea that Republicans lost because they weren’t explicit enough about their anti-abortion stances, adding that, “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.” I’d argue that supporting total abortion bans is the real extreme position, Marge!
Jenny Lawson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Votes, said in a statement, “When will they learn?”
We certainly hope Republicans’ dedication to criminalizing miscarriage and abortion turns off a bunch of voters, but it’s going to be an anxiety-riddled two years waiting to find out.
This post has been updated to include comment from Planned Parenthood.