The Corner

Guttmacher Study Shows Pro-life Success in Swing States

Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute released their 2013 state-policy review. The report indicates that pro-lifers continue to make very good legislative progress at the state level. In 2013, 70 state-level pro-life measures were enacted — making 2013 the second most productive year on record. The report specifically cites Texas, North Dakota, North Carolina, and Arkansas as being especially active in passing pro-life laws. Overall, according to Guttmacher, there have been more pro-life laws passed between 2011 and 2013 than in the entire previous decade.

Guttmacher places each state into one of three categories based on the number of pro-life laws on the books. Unsurprisingly, a majority of “red” states are deemed “hostile” to abortion rights while many “blue” states fall in the “supportive” category. What is interesting, however, is the success of pro-life laws in many “purple” or swing states. Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan were all states that Barack Obama carried in both 2008 and 2012. They are also states Republicans hope to win in 2016. Guttmacher places each of these four states in the “hostile” category.

Whenever Republican presidential candidates fare poorly, advice to the Republican party becomes a cottage industry among media pundits and political professionals alike. Many media analysts reflexively encourage Republicans to focus more on economic issues and abandon conservative positions on social issues. However, this recent Guttmacher study shows that pro-life candidates and pro-life policies have been successful in many of the swing states that Republicans need to win in 2016. Republican political consultants and candidates would do well to take notice.

Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

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