Poor pro-aborts. In Tuesday’s midterm elections, voters gave pro-life candidates a majority of U.S. Senate seats, House offices, and governor’s mansions, not to mention hundreds of state senate and house seats.
Abortionism’s Chosen One, Wendy Davis, lost by a staggering (but not surprising) twenty points. Not even the War on Women’s TM Paul Revere, Sandra Fluke, could avoid a 2-1 loss in California. Planned Parenthood Action Fund singled out Thom Tillis, Cory Gardner, Terri Lynn Land, Joni Ernst, Scott Brown, and Dan Sullivan as the “Extreme Six”—yet the only one they beat, Brown, agreed with them on abortion.
Polling indicates 23% of voters said abortion was the deciding factor in voting for a pro-life candidate, compared to just 16% for whom it made or broke their support for a pro-choice one.
Indeed, the handling of the War on Women narrative by candidates like Mark Udall was so ham-fisted and one-note that it’s devolved into a punch line to all but the most diehard lefties—even in New York, just uttering the phrase in a debate gets you laughed at.
Their only notable victories were the defeats of Colorado and North Dakota’s personhood measures, but a Tennessee constitutional amendment forbidding judicial activists from inventing a state constitutional right to abortion or abortion funding won by six points despite a 3-1 funding disadvantage.
Taken all together, a few things are clear: the electorate is not yet ready to totally end abortion, but they’re moving in that direction. They trust pro-life politicians more than pro-abortion ones. And the argument that abortion is a precious good in need of defense is falling on deaf ears, as is the idea of birth control being under siege.
So if your career is to shill for abortion-on-demand, how do you spin all that? If you’re NARAL President Ilyse Hogue, you try telling the gullible folks at RH Reality Check that “even anti-choice victories show we’re making process.” Yes, really:
Seven in 10 Americans support legal access to abortion. This fact remains true in red states, across demographics, and includes a majority of self-identified Republicans and Independents. Tuesday night’s results actually underscore that reality.
Gee, a poll that NARAL themselves commissioned and phrased the choice they wanted moderates to pick in a loaded way—“I am personally against abortion for myself and my family, but I don’t believe government should prevent a woman from making that decision for herself” (no mention of the kid she’s “choosing” into the grave)—finds that NARAL’s agenda is overwhelmingly popular! Imagine that! But in a development I’m sure is purely coincidental, it’s an outlier—CNN, Marist, and Gallup agree that between 56% and 59% of Americans want to ban most or all abortions. The NARAL position of always legal? 27% (CNN 2014), 16% (Marist 2014), and 25% (Gallup 2012).
2014 will go down in the books as the year that anti-choice candidates ran hard from their clear anti-choice track records in order to convince voters they could be trusted on women’s fundamental freedoms. Even they can no longer deny that running on a platform of knowing better than the women you serve about what’s best for them is an untenable political position. New Colorado senator Cory Gardner was the poster child for this approach. Rep. Gardner is still a sponsor of the federal “personhood” bill that would outright ban abortion and many forms of birth control. Yet, on the campaign trail, he denied again and again thatsuch a bill even existed. Gardner also implied that his support for making the pill available over the counter should trump his earlier stance: making it illegal.
He wasn’t the only one. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker—with an eye toward a presidential run in 2016—recorded a straight-to-camera ad where he insisted that he supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions about pregnancy, despite all evidence to the contrary. In Iowa, state Sen. Joni Ernst claimed that her support for a “personhood” bill (again, which would ban all abortion and many common forms of birth control) was “simply a statement that I support life.”
Unfortunately, there’s a bit more truth to this one—Walker’s ad was about as mealy-mouthed as it gets, and Gardner turned in some of the most mind-bogglingly dishonest campaign moments ever caught on camera—but it’s not as if they endorsed abortion-on-demand.
Walker still maintained his opposition to abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion. Gardner framed his reversal on personhood legislation entirely around contraception, not abortion. And just last month, Ernst actually endorsed federal legislation to protect babies from fertilization onward.
Besides, the fact remains that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’S List’s advertising made sure voters knew exactly what they thought of these candidates’ personhood stances. And voters didn’t care.
So what does Hogue suggest pro-aborts do to win next time around? Her game plan basically amounts to doubling down on everything voters rejected last week: aggressively insist abortion is “an issue of fundamental freedoms and human rights,” harp on abortion non-stop everywhere they can, and continue relying on courts to sidestep that whole pesky “democracy” thing.
Good luck with that.