A Pro-Choice Surge and Its Limits

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Yesterday in this space I poured cold water on the idea that public opinion is moving in a pro-choice direction. But the politics of abortion may nonetheless be changing. In 2012, some pro-lifers helped pro-choicers change the context of the political debate in a way that worked to the advantage of the latter.

Today NRO has put my recent analysis of what happened in 2012 online. It mainly deals with what went wrong, and offers advice about how to prevent recurrences. But it also counts some blessings:

Pro-life candidates did better in the Senate elections, for example, than Republican candidates did. Pro-life Republican Ted Cruz replaced moderate pro-choice Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas. A pro-life Democrat replaced a pro-life Republican in Indiana, and the reverse happened in Nebraska. Pro-choice Republicans lost seats to pro-choice Democrats in Maine and Massachusetts. The net result was that pro-lifers gained a seat even as Republicans lost two. That’s evidence that the abortion issue did not drag the party down.

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