Republicans who remain silent on abortion fail to take advantage of wide public support for such abortion restrictions.What support? The article quotes from this GOP resolution:
· 87% support informed-consent laws about certain possible risks of the abortion procedure;Please read below the fold for more on the GOP and abortion.
· 80% support banning abortion during the 3rd trimester;
· 71% support parental consent laws;
· 69% support imposing a 24-hour wait period before an abortion;
· 64% of Americans support banning abortion during the 2nd trimester;
· 64% support banning partial-birth abortion;
· 64% support spousal notification laws that require the husband to be simply notified if his wife seeks an abortion;
Most of those numbers come from a 2011 Gallup poll, though the age of the poll shouldn't matter much. Abortion opinions have remained fairly static. And on the face of it, yes, there is public support for some level of abortion restrictions. But there's more to it than that:
1. Republicans cross the line. It's one thing to argue that women seeking abortions should be given a list of possible risks from the procedure, particularly if those risks are science- and medicine-based. But abortion opponents can't make that kind of argument and leave it at that. They simply can't. Because their problem with the procedure isn't a lack of informed consent, it's the procedure itself, whether consent is informed or not.
And when you look at the list above, it's telling that none of these have to do with whether the public actually supports abortion rights themselves. Go down and review the latest polling yourself here. A clear majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Quinnipiac has it at 58-37. CBS pegged it at 77-21. CNN has it at 79-20. Gallup at 78-20. The wording matters, but the general consensus is clear: while Americans might want to tinker on the edges, they ultimately support the underlying rights.
2. Talking about abortion energizes Democrats. I sound like a broken record, but remember that if our people turn out, we win. If they don't, we don't. Republicans have no such problems. Their base always turns out. But the lowest-performing voters are core-Democratic ones—single women, Asians, Latinos, and young people. Who supports abortion rights more than anyone else? Single women and Latinos. You threaten their rights, that fear is a great motivator for voting.
Let's look at Missouri, the 16th most evangelical state in the country, with 27 percent of its population identifying themselves as such. Exit polls in 2012 found that 51 percent of respondents supported keeping abortion legal. Is Missouri a pro-choice state? The state has a single abortion clinic left, in St. Louis. Its Democratic governor refused to veto draconian limits on choice last year. Yet the 2012 Senate election hinged on Republican Todd Akin's claims that abortion should be banned in all cases, because women couldn't get pregnant from rape. You know, her body has a way of shutting that whole thing down.
Same thing happened in Indiana. You had Republicans toeing what appeared to be the majority line in their states, yet exit polls showed surprising support for choice among voters, propelling Democratic candidates to victory. In other words—the more Republicans talk about abortion, the more they motivate poor-performing Democratic base voters to vote. And we need all the help we can get on that front in 2014.
If Republicans want to embrace the full-on crazy on abortion, all the power to them! It's honest, it's accurate, it's the truth. Let them sell themselves to voters on the genuine merits of their abortion position. It sure beats the heck out of pretending they're something they're not. And if it also happens to goose Democratic base voter turnout? Well then, that sure would be nice.