Because they have no regard for democracy and zero respect for women, Repubs didn’t think through the possible electoral consequences of their decades-long quest to rescind a longstanding constitutional right by overturning Roe. They gave even less thought to the healthcare ramifications — agricultural boards spend more time pondering how grazing land policy affects cattle than your average Repub lawmaker thought about the impact abortion bans have on women’s health.
So, when the Leo Court obliged and effectively made half the population second-class citizens, empowered state-level Repubs to insert themselves into millions of people’s private medical decisions, and forced healthcare providers to change standard care protocols to conform to religious dogma, Repubs were caught flat-footed by public reaction. And now they are belatedly alarmed because the Dobbs decision blowback has been measurable in most elections held since June 2022.
Public responses by individual Repubs are all over the map. House Repubs and Senator Potato Head from AL act as if governing with a mandate to ban abortion nationwide. Chickenshit candidates like Ron DeSantis sign bans in the dead of night and avoid the subject on the trail. But according to NBC News, Senate Repubs held a messaging workshop this week to try to rebrand their way out of this conundrum:
At a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans this week, the head of a super PAC closely aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., presented poll results that suggested voters are reacting differently to commonly used terms like “pro-life” and “pro-choice” in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, said several senators who were in the room.
The polling, which NBC News has not independently reviewed, was made available to senators Wednesday by former McConnell aide Steven Law and showed that “pro-life” no longer resonated with voters.
“What intrigued me the most about the results was that ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ means something different now, that people see being pro-life as being against all abortions … at all levels,” Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said in an interview Thursday.
Well, maybe those polled have seen stories about women who seek emergency treatment for miscarriages being advised to quietly bleed out in their homes until the local archbishop and megachurch pastor deem their lives sufficiently endangered to warrant medical intervention. Or maybe they’ve read about Orwellian laws that encourage random busybodies to monetize their neighbors’ deeply private situations.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said the polling made it clear to him that more specificity is needed in talking about abortion.
“Many voters think [‘pro-life’] means you’re for no exceptions in favor of abortion ever, ever, and ‘pro-choice’ now can mean any number of things. So the conversation was mostly oriented around how voters think of those labels, that they’ve shifted. So if you’re going to talk about the issue, you need to be specific,” Hawley said Thursday.
“You can’t assume that everybody knows what it means,” he added. “They probably don’t.”
Yep, that will surely do the trick because if there’s one thing all American women are demanding with a single voice, it’s additional and more specific mansplaining from Josh Fucking Hawley! (Who represents a state that bans abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest, BTW.)
Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., summarized Wednesday’s meeting as being focused on “pro-baby policies.”
Asked whether senators were encouraged to use a term other than “pro-life,” Young said his “pro-baby” descriptor “was just a term of my creation to demonstrate my concern for babies.”
These fanatical dingleberries will never land on the actual word that describes their position on reproductive healthcare, which is “anti-woman.” But it seems like many voters have reached that conclusion all by themselves. I don’t think more branding workshops will keep Repubs from reaping the whirlwind they sowed for generations, but this is America, so who knows.