GOP to push candidates to defend anti-abortion stances

Anne Wernikoff

A group of Republican National Committee members will push the GOP this week to step up its efforts to prepare candidates to take up their side of the abortion debate. 

RNC delegate Ellen Barrosse of Delaware is sponsoring the "Resolution on Republican Pro-Life Strategy” and will introduce it at the committee’s winter meeting in Washington this week.

“Candidates who stay silent on pro-life issues do not identify with key voters, fail to alert voters to Democrats’ extreme pro-abortion stances, and have lost their elections,” the resolution says. 

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Barrosse and her co-sponsors say the GOP needs to take on the Democrats’ “deceptive ‘War on Women’ rhetoric.” The resolution says the Republican Party will support anti-abortion-rights candidates who overcome a strategy of silence on the issue.   

The measure is co-sponsored by 15 other RNC members, according to CNN, which first reported its unveiling.

In an interview with CNN, Barrosse explained she wrote the resolution because former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli failed to defend themselves against attacks Democrats directed toward them in the last two years.

“Some Republican candidates have adopted a strategy of deflection and silence when attacked with ‘War on Women’ rhetoric, and we've now seen that silence is a losing strategy,” Barrosse said in a statement. “If Republican candidates want to connect with key voters, such as women, Hispanics, and young people — they need to fight back on the life issue when attacked.” 

RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski says the committee is ready to help in that fight against the Democrats.

“After spending last cycle watching the Democrats wage their false War on Women, we need to take back the messaging and positively promote our social agenda using facts. Looking at the resolution, there’s polling that shows where Americans stand on our positions and also gives insight into how extreme the Democrats are on the life issue,” she said in a statement to The Hill.

The RNC’s meeting begins Wednesday, which happens to coincide with the March for Life rally that’s expected to culminate at the Supreme Court.

Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Lily Adams shot back Tuesday, arguing the RNC resolution would further hurt the GOP. 

“Reince promised his party was going to be 'fresh and new,' but as the RNC enters their Winter Meeting, it's clear nothing's changed,” she said in a statement. “So much for that rebrand.”