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March 20, 2024

Abortion Is a Winning Issue for Republicans

“Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces judicial decisions.”

The visit by Vice President Kamala Harris to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in St. Paul, the first ever visit by a president or vice president to an abortion clinic, is getting the considerable attention it deserves.

When America’s vice president visits and pays homage to the nation’s largest abortion provider, it’s news. And what she said there is also news.

Harris predictably distorted truth and reality, pitching the boilerplate left-wing headline calling the destruction of our unborn health care.

However, the vice president did everyone a favor by stepping into the limelight and removing any doubt about how far on the left side of the political spectrum she stands.

All this, of course, is political calculation by Democrats to headline abortion as an election year issue, thinking this is a loser for Republicans.

But here, Harris and her party are wrong.

A good place to start is the truth. Indifference to the sanctity of life is not health care. And, the Supreme Court, in the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, did not take “a constitutional right … from the people of America, from the women of America,” as the VP said.

Harris is a lawyer, so she must understand that Supreme Court justices don’t issue rights or take them away. They interpret the U.S. Constitution. In Dobbs, the court found that Roe’s understanding of the constitution, perceiving a right justifying abortion on demand, was incorrect.

Let’s look at the latest Gallup polling, published July 2023.

Per that polling, 34% say abortion should be legal under any circumstances, 51% say it should be legal under certain circumstances, and 13% say it should be illegal in all circumstances.

But when Gallup breaks out the 51%, 13% say “certain circumstances” means “most” circumstances, and 36% say “certain circumstances” means “few” circumstances.

So, per Gallup, “the result is 47% of U.S. adults favoring expansive abortion rights (legal in all or most cases) and 49% favoring more restrictive rights (legal in only a few or no cases.)”

American attitudes about abortion do not reflect the simple-minded message of our vice president. The Gallup data shows sentiments of most Americans leaning against abortion.

Let’s also consider where abortion stands in the pecking order of what voters feel are the most critical issues now facing the nation.

Per a Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released in January asking Americans about their top issue concerns, number one, 35%, said immigration; number two, 32%, inflation; and number three, 25%, economy and jobs. Only 7% listed abortion as their top issue of concern.

Not only is net American sentiment about abortion far different from what Democrats want to portray, despite the importance of the issue, it is far from what voters list among their top concerns.

These issues that most concern voters define the agenda on which Republicans should focus.

And how should Republicans handle the abortion issue?

I turn again to the words of Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president.

“In this age, and in this country, public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail. Against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces judicial decisions.”

Abortion is not among the issues that voters note are the highest concern to them. But it is far too important to not address.

In the spirit of Lincoln, Republicans should work to mold public opinion and help push sentiment, already favorable to an abortion-free country, more solidly in this direction.

In contrast to the vice president’s distortions, abortion is a social issue, not an individual issue. There is mother, there is father, and there is a child.

And there is a country badly in need that the integrity of marriage and the American family, in an aging country with dangerously diminishing birth rates, be restored.

In brief, America’s future depends on a culture of life. This should be the Republican message.

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