Saturday, August 06, 2022

The GOP's Hard-On for Banning Abortion Goes Soft


As predicted, Republicans are now dodging the abortion issue, or publicly softening their previous extremist positions, or finding more "exceptions" in their absolutist anti-abortion ideology. Suddenly, they're as weak as kittens, and this headline in the NYTimes this morning gathers up many examples of how their once super-hot brew is becoming a much weaker tea: "Republicans Begin Adjusting To a Fierce Abortion Backlash."

...In swing states and even conservative corners of the country, several Republicans have shifted their talk on abortion bans, newly emphasizing support for exceptions. Some have noticeably stopped discussing details at all....

In Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, the Republicans’ ardently anti-abortion candidate for governor, has lately taken to saying “the people of Pennsylvania” will “decide what abortion looks like” in the state, not the governor. In Minnesota, Scott Jensen, a family physician who said in March that he would “try to ban abortion” as governor, said in a video released before the Kansas vote that he does support some exceptions: “If I’ve been unclear previously, I want to be clear now.”

Republican consultants for Senate and House campaigns said Thursday that ... candidates are going to have to talk about abortion to blunt Democratic attacks that the party’s position is extreme. They have started advising Republicans to endorse bans that allow exceptions for pregnancies from rape or incest or those that threaten the life of the mother. They have told candidates to emphasize care for women during and after their pregnancies....

Messaging alone will not free the G.O.P. from accusations that it is out of step with voters. Several Republican-led states have passed abortion bans that do not include allowances for victims of rape or incest, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. While all bans allow an exception to save the life of the woman, those in some states do not also cite protection of her health.

On Friday, after a prolonged debate, the Indiana House approved a ban that included exceptions for rape, incest and the life and physical health of the mother....

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who has recently avoided talking about abortion, suspended a state attorney from Hillsborough County who refused to prosecute people who try to provide abortions prohibited by the state’s new 15-week ban, prompting angry recriminations from Democrats.

...Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade ... many Republicans were slow to detail what would come next. As they rush to enact long-promised laws, Republican-led legislatures have learned how difficult banning abortion can be.

“Not just the pro-choice movement but the pro-life movement was caught by surprise” by the Supreme Court, said Brandon Steele, a West Virginia delegate who pressed for an abortion ban without exceptions in a special session of the legislature that ended this week with the Republican supermajority stymied. “Without having the talking points, without being told what to do, legislators had to start saying what they were actually going to do. You could see the confusion in the room.”

“We’re finding out who is really pro-life and who is pro-life only to get elected, not just in West Virginia but across the country,” Mr. Steele said....

They think "talking points" are gonna save them? These dogs caught that bus, and we can enjoy watching them lose their teeth. 

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