As soon as the Supreme Court issued its ruling finally overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion decision that had so roiled the nation for nearly 50 years, Democrats and their allies who control corporate media began asserting it would be a political boon for their party.
“Democrats see abortion as a big base motivator and a potential winning issue with independents,” claimed Politico.
Democrats could certainly use some help. The party controls all of Washington, D.C. Voters have indicated they’re prepared to deliver large Republican gains in November in response to a series of Democrat policy failures leading to a looming recession, labor problems, supply chain disruptions, high gas prices, rising crime, another foreign war without a strategy for victory, and a completely out of control border.
But there are several problems for Democrats hoping to stem the losses, including that the general Democrat position of abortion on demand until the moment of birth is far too radical to gain politically in most areas of the country. Even CBS polling found that only 17 percent of Americans agree with such an extreme stance.
The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, despite the media disinformation, simply returns abortion law to the states, enabling citizens and their elected representatives to debate and set abortion laws and policies. Roe had falsely decreed that a right to abortion was in the Constitution, and therefore beyond public debate, a view the court flatly and finally rejected last week.
Abortion is a hotly debated topic, and neither those who oppose or support it are likely to be fully happy about public opinion. Most Americans strongly oppose abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, but most Americans also support some allowances for abortion at earlier stages in pregnancy. In May, a Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans support making abortion illegal or legal only in certain circumstances.
Mixed Bag Politically
While the decision may help Democrats hold onto a few suburban seats Republicans had hoped to wrestle back from the party in power, it is unlikely to help them in battleground states and districts where Republicans are experiencing dramatic gains. California and New York may be ready to pass even more radical abortion legislation, but not every state is as leftist as those are. And Democrats and the media are in for a rude awakening if they think everyone is as extreme as they are in their bubbles.
For example, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced his plans to pass protections for babies who have reached 15 weeks of age in the womb. That’s the type of popular protection that will pass in a swing state, but would be viewed as anathema for New York newsrooms. A recent Fox poll found that a majority oppose abortion after 15 weeks. Similarly, the Wall Street Journal found more support than opposition for 15-week abortion bans like those now permitted in America.
So take a state like Nevada. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the incumbent Democrat running for re-election, voted in May for a bill that would legalize abortion to the moment of birth, forbid states from enacting protections for unborn life, and expand taxpayer funding. Her opponent Adam Laxalt is endorsed by pro-life groups and supports at least some protections for unborn children.
As attorney general of Nevada, he signed onto a legal brief assisting the Little Sisters of the Poor, who were facing crippling fines from the Obama administration for not funding abortifacients. Is Cortez Masto’s radical stance really going to help her in a state where one out of every four residents is Hispanic, many of them Roman Catholic or evangelical? Is she really going to get major traction on her stance that it’s okay for children to have their lives violently ended in the womb for no other reason than they’re the wrong sex?
Pennsylvania also has a Senate race, and the Democrat nominee John Fetterman already publicly announced his support for the “ruthless” abortion-until-birth legislation Cortez Masto voted for. The legislation — which had bipartisan opposition but still had 48 senators and 218 congressmen voting for it — explicitly states the right to abortion on demand “shall not be limited or otherwise infringed.”
Fetterman is running against Mehmet Oz, who has stated he’s pro-life but would support popular exceptions to abortion bans. Is Fetterman’s extreme stance going to help or hurt him in November? Ditto New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan.
In North Carolina, Democrat nominee Cheri Beasley has made abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy the central argument of her campaign. She wants federal legislation to codify this view. By contrast, her opponent Ted Budd says he thinks states should handle abortion law and he has focused his campaign on how to improve the economy.
Polls show that voters are dramatically more worried about the economy than focused on abortion. Traditionally, those who care the most about abortion tend to vote for Republicans. Even if Budd had an extreme pro-life position, and he doesn’t, the issue would probably break 50-50 in the southern state, rather than be a huge boon for Beasley.
At a time Democrats desperately need to seem normal, they are saddled with one of the least defensible policy positions in American life: that ending human life in the womb should be legal for any reason up until the moment the baby is being born.
The signature legislation nearly all of them voted for weeks ago would have forbidden state-level protections for babies with Down syndrome or other disabilities, overturned informed consent laws that have been upheld by the Supreme Court, prohibited state restrictions blocking abortion when the unborn child can feel pain, and completely removed conscientious protections for health-care employees who oppose abortion. This is an extremely radical set of positions. For instance, 75 percent of Americans support protecting the conscience rights of health-care employees. And seven out of ten Americans oppose aborting children because they have Down syndrome.
It’s also not just that Democrats have to affirmatively support that view but that they will also be saddled with the policy position that any restriction, no matter how minor and no matter how popular, such as a 15-week abortion ban, is untenable.
Democrats and their media allies are trying to spread conspiracy theories about banning contraception or same-sex marriage to make Republicans seem less moderate, but those efforts will suffer from the lack of evidence to support them. The pro-life movement has been vibrant and active for 50 solid years, marching each January in the nation’s capital, and working diligently to pass laws protecting human lives. There is no movement for the conspiracy theories being spread by corporate media.
Few people realize how radical the American abortion position was prior to Dobbs. This week, Noah Smith tweeted a picture of how restrictive European abortion laws are relative to the Roe era in the United States, adding, “Wow. Today I learned that Europe has more restrictive abortion laws than most of the U.S. did up until this week.”
While pro-lifers have known that for decades, the media — run by people with extremely liberal views on abortion — have hidden those facts from their readers and viewers. But Americans are learning these facts about the Democrat position and how radical it is.
Narratives In A Head-On Collision
Another problem for Democrats is that prior to Dobbs, the main campaign strategy was to gin up hysteria about the January 6 riot. Since the leak of the draft decision, abortion supporters have engaged in campaigns of violence against churches and maternal care centers.
Last week, prominent Democrats such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and President Joe Biden began calling on their base voters to protest in the streets. Leading leftists also claimed the Supreme Court was now “illegitimate,” because it had ruled on the law in a way that differed from their preferred policies. Media figures began spreading disinformation about abortion being banned in America.
It will be exceedingly difficult to continue the January 6 show trial while this widespread and orchestrated campaign of violence is happening nationwide.
Exceedingly few Americans support Democrats’ policies in favor of abortion until the moment of birth. DC-based media and Democrat strategists exist in a bubble that isolates them from public opinion.
But elections happen in places where views have to be explicitly stated and contend with public opinion. Outside of a small handful of House districts in suburban areas dominated by wealthy and college-educated white women, the more GOP candidates speak confidently and unapologetically about their views, they will have the political edge.