Former Vice President Mike Pence said he and other pro-life Republicans are not shying away from talking about abortion on the campaign trail ahead of the midterm elections in the wake of a landmark Supreme Court ruling.
The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, returning power to the states to limit abortion. Election analysts have credited the far-reaching decision with helping Democrats close some gaps with Republicans in recent polling. Several Democratic candidates have used the issue in campaign ads to reach voters concerned about access to abortion.
Some GOP candidates from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, meanwhile, have recently focused on spiking crime rates across America’s cities – a choice some observers have referred to as a “pivot” and proof Republicans are moderating their takes on abortion.
“As I’ve been traveling around the country, I haven’t,” Pence told Fox News Digital after his remarks at the Club for Growth School Freedom Forum Tuesday. “And the candidates I see effectively engaging the public on this issue are candidates that are talking about it, are talking from their hearts about their commitment to the sanctity of life.”
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‘I’ve often said I’m pro-life,” Pence continued. “I don’t apologize for it. I’d love to see the sanctity of life restored to the center of American law in all 50 states. But I recognize that may take as long to accomplish in every state in the country as it did to overturn Roe v. Wade, which was nearly half a century. And I’m committed to continue to be a part of that cause.”
Pence said that he “sees” some of the commentary about the impact of abortion on the midterm elections, saying, “I don’t doubt that abortion rights advocates are using the issue to motivate their voters.” But he suggested the pro-life side of the debate has the upper hand.
“But I will tell you I see great enthusiasm around the country for this new beginning of life and the candidates that are talking about life in terms that are principled and compassionate candidates that are talking about life are going to prevail and move the cause forward,” he said.
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The media has often hyped abortion as a game changer in November, with some analysts claiming Republican lawmakers were caught “flat-footed” by the Dobbs decision.
“What does surprise me, Abby, is the reality that Republicans are caught flat-footed by a Supreme Court decision that huge swaths of the party had been rooting for, for literally 49 years,” New York Times National Political correspondent Alex Burns told CNN “Inside Politics” host Abby Phillip in August.
“They recognize this is a problem for them, their message on abortion has been completely nonexistent or completely disjointed. They’re worried about that. And so it is something that is a growing concern for Republicans right now,” CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona said on the same panel.
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Recent Fox News polling found that abortion is the main issue motivating 16% of voters. It was just behind inflation, which was the main issue motivating nearly 20% of voters.
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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee agrees with Pence that Republicans cannot be “afraid” to talk about abortion and at the same time should expose the “extremism” of the other side.
“And we need to quit acting like we’re afraid to take on the issues, even the abortion issue,” Huckabee said last month on “Hannity.” “A lot of Republicans are afraid of it. What we need to do is make the Democrats answer for their radical extremist position to take the life of an unborn child right up to the moment of its birth. That’s extremism. Our positions are not extreme.”