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Abortion, Polling and Other Republican Midterm Troubles

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Abortion, Polling and Other Republican Midterm Troubles

The Wall Street Journal September 13, 2022
OtherCulture & Society

With weak candidates and awkward pro-life rhetoric, the party worries about its prospects for November.

In the 11 weeks since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party’s ability to discuss abortion has remained a work in progress. Between now and November, however, Republicans had better find their tongue on the issue, or Democrats could make them pay.

When Roe was the law of the land, it was easier for Republican candidates to be pro-life absolutists because the issue was out of their hands, and what they said had no practical consequences. After Dobbs, the conversation is no longer abstract. The decisions of Republican lawmakers will affect real people in dramatic ways.

If ducking the abortion question for the next eight weeks isn’t an option, how should pro-life candidates talk about it? That’s the question I posed recently to veteran Republican pollster and political consultant Whit Ayres. “Republicans need to take a mainstream pro-life position,” he told me. “What that mainstream position is depends on the particular state. But what it is not is a ban on abortion in all circumstances without exception for rape, incest and the life of the mother.” There’s no national consensus on abortion, he added. “But a mainstream pro-life position includes those exceptions.”

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal (paywall)

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Jason L. Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, and a Fox News commentator. Follow him on Twitter here.

Photo by zimmytws/Getty Images

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