In one of its first moves after a contentious leadership election, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted on Monday to pass a resolution directing Republicans nationwide to “go on offense” in order to pass the most restrictive abortion bans possible.
The resolution directs Republicans in Congress and in state-level positions to pursue the “strongest” anti-abortion bills “possible,” including near-total bans that bar abortion past about six weeks, before most people are even aware that they’re pregnant.
It claims that part of the reason for the diminutive “red trickle” in the midterms is Republicans failing to enact enough abortion restrictions ahead of the election, despite the fact that at least 18 states have passed legislation restricting or banning abortion — measures that have had wide-ranging, devastating effects across the country.
The resolution represents an escalation of tactics for the party, especially as it comes at a time when the party is shuffling blame for its poor midterm performance and is at a crossroads in deciding which direction to take in the coming years.
Abortion advocates have pledged to keep fighting against abortion restrictions. “Voters have repeatedly rejected this out-of-touch, anti-abortion agenda — and we’re ready to hold every single candidate who supports it accountable,” Planned Parenthood Action wrote on Monday.
The decision to double down on abortion comes after abortion bans and the overturn of Roe v. Wade appeared to play a large role in Republicans’ failure to secure the party’s predicted “red wave,” with both polls before the election and exit polls showing that the issue helped drive higher-than-usual turnout in 2022.
That the RNC would decide to keep pursuing abortion bans despite the fact that it appears to be a losing issue for the party shows their dedication to stripping Americans of basic rights regardless of the political consequences, some commentators have pointed out.
“2022: A 15-week abortion ban costs Republicans the Senate, multiple state legislatures, governorships, state AGs, and nearly the House,” said Brandon Richards, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s deputy communications director, on Twitter. “2024: GOP double[s] down — even go[es] a step further — support[ing] a 6-week abortion ban. It’s all about power and control and this should remove any doubt of it.”
Indeed, it appears that the GOP is either ignoring the unpopularity of abortion bans or continuing despite it, perhaps hoping that they will be able to sway voters on the issue or relying on anti-abortion advocates to help buoy Republicans candidates anyway. Anti-abortion groups have already praised the GOP’s move; Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America put out a statement on Monday saying that the resolution “sends a bold message to GOP candidates, campaigns and consultants” that they must focus on abortion to win in 2024 and that candidates were too afraid to back bans on the campaign trail.
Republicans have already been pursuing extremist anti-abortion positions; ahead of the midterm elections, a group of Republicans in the Senate introduced a bill that would enact a nationwide 15-week abortion ban.
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