Republicans know how unpopular their position is, but they can’t lie their way out of this
In a new National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) memo first reported by Axios, Senate Republicans’ campaign arm effectively instructs their 2022 U.S. Senate candidates to lie about and conceal their true positions on outlawing abortion—something that multiple Senate Republican incumbents are currently conspiring to do at the federal level.
It’s easy to see why national Republicans would advise their Senate candidates to conceal and downplay their true positions on abortion: Contrary to Republicans’ hardline anti-abortion views, polling has shown that 80% of Americans believe abortion should be legal, and that 60% of Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s GOP appointees overturning Roe.
The memo instructs candidates to “be the compassionate consensus-builder on abortion policy”—though it’s far too late for that advice for the many, many GOP Senate candidates who hold the extremely unpopular position of outlawing abortion with few or no exceptions, not even for victims or rape or incest. (Just consider Missouri’s Mark McCloskey or Ohio’s JD Vance’s heartless rhetoric on banning abortion for victims of rape and incest.)
And the memo also falsely claims that “Republicans do not want to take away contraception, mammograms and female health care or throw doctors and women in jail.” That isn’t true either. For example, the Trump administration imposed unpopular restrictions on Title X funding that had the effect of cutting access to basic health care, including contraception and mammograms. And Republicans have long supported punishment for both people seeking abortions and doctors providing them. For example, Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ron Hanks has introduced a bill to criminalize abortion in Colorado and “enforce homicide and assault provisions,” while New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Chuck Morse helped to spearhead the Granite State’s abortion ban that imposes “criminal penalties” for health care providers.
“National Senate Republicans’ advice that their GOP candidates should outright lie about their deeply-unpopular abortion views and their party’s years-long effort to overturn Roe and pass strict abortion bans could only work in a vacuum where 2022 Republicans haven’t been openly campaigning for years to outlaw abortion,” said Brad Bainum, American Bridge 21st Century spokesperson. “The truth is that Republicans’ 2022 Senate candidates have been abundantly clear that they support hardline and extreme measures to outlaw abortion access—including at the federal level—and force people to carry pregnancies to term, including in cases of rape and incest.”
Read more about 2022 Republican U.S. Senate candidates’ views on outlawing abortion and support for Roe v. Wade here.