(NationalUSNews.com) – Since the end of Roe v. Wade, abortion has been on ballots all over the country. Candidates that support legal abortions and measures to protect them have been winners more often than not. While more detailed polling shows that Americans quibble about details such as how many weeks of pregnancy may pass before abortion is impermissible, or under what circumstances, it is clear that no abortions at all is not a popular position. In an increasingly polarized political climate, many Republicans are worried that focusing on abortion will cost them elections.
Red states may be considered more hostile to abortion rights, but even their anti-abortion measures and candidates have been losing. Ohio has a Republican governor and yet recently added an amendment to the state constitution to protect access to abortions. Kentucky, which is considered a deep red state, has re-elected Democrat Andy Beshear for governor whose campaign often focused on abortion rights. Beshear enjoys high approval ratings even in areas that were largely pro-Trump. In Virginia, Republican Governor Glen Youngkin has failed to gain control over the state legislature which makes it unlikely he will be able to get the support necessary to pass the 15-week limit on abortions he has been championing.
As abortion rights advocates continue to campaign for ballot measures and candidates to enshrine abortion access even in red states, Republicans may find themselves handicapped in the upcoming elections. Total bans and harsh restrictions are just not appealing to a majority of voters. Some Republicans have already started to soften their stance or pivot away from the issue altogether. Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney said that Republicans should be attempting to “steer the conversation” away from abortion, adding that it is no secret that “abortion is not a winning issue” for them.
While this may help them win over conservatives with more moderate abortion stances, it could cost them the pro-life contingency, many of whom believe Republicans are already too soft on the issue. Olivia Gans Turner, president of the pro-life group Virginia Society for Human Life, believes half-measures like specific weeks or circumstances do not focus enough on the life of the unborn. It may be that Republicans will be making concessions on the issue in deference to polling numbers indicating they simply cannot win elections with a hardline anti-abortion position.
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