Caution to Republican Party: Drop Our Plank, Lose Our Vote

A week after the presidential election, conservatives are just now starting to emerge out of the proverbial fetal position. We lost, and we lost big. Monday morning quarterbacks abound, and most of us are combing through polling data to piece together what happened and why. On the way to church on Sunday, we heard third-party Libertarian, loser candidate Gary Johnson on Fox News blaming social conservatives, especially women. David Axelrod, too, credited Obama's 11-point lead with women to the notion that Romney was too far right on abortion. Who is he kidding?

So here's what a conservative pro-life woman has to say on this matter: you can go this route, but you will lose our vote forever.

The idea that Mitt Romney was somehow a radical on the life issue is almost funny. Thirteen days before Romney secured the nomination, the pro-life community was surprised to find him attending a fundraiser at the home of "morning-after pill" executive Bill Frost, Chairman of the Board of Teva Pharmaceuticals. The campaign, of course, responded with blank stares when called on the carpet. "Huh?" Equally feckless was the campaign's response to the $15 million spent by Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby's scare tactics. The message from the Left to women was soft and caring and told them that the nasty Republicans wanted to take away their birth control.

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Little of the messaging from the Left centered on the national argument of whether or not people of faith should be forced to pay for other women's abortions. And it certainly didn't examine whether or not an unborn baby is a life and deserves legal rights. No, instead, Sandra Fluke was trotted out as the ideal American woman, who can afford $40K per year for Georgetown Law but can't afford $9 per month at Wal-Mart to pay for her own birth control pills. Especially painful was the boundless attention Democrats gave abortion advocates at their convention. It was telling, given the scant attention at the Republican convention to pro-life advocates. I am not sure the word "abortion" was even uttered in Tampa, except at the platform meetings.

So much of what was said in the never-ending TV ads was inaccurate, and so much of what was repeated in the press was flat out untrue. However, how were women supposed to know the truth if no one told them? Mitt Romney couldn't even bother to correct the president during the second debate when he falsely asserted that Planned Parenthood gave women mammograms. He had the perfect opportunity to pivot and discuss the skeletons in President Obama's closet on abortion. President Obama voted multiple times against the Born Alive Victims Act, which would have protected babies who are past viability and manage to be born despite abortionists' deadly efforts. He supports abortion for any reason, any number, at any point in pregnancy, and he wants all of us to be complicit with our tax dollars. Just this past spring, he worked hard against the Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act, a bill that would have prohibited sex-selection abortions. Yeah, he's pro-woman.

Millions, perhaps a billion dollars was spent on ads by Republicans. But none of them took on the sanctity of life issue. Instead, we all hammered on the economic issues, because that's what all the polls told us women and men cared about most. Turns out that's not completely true. Women, as we have said all along, are not monolithic. They do care about economics, and even if they say abortion is way down the list, they still care about that, too.

The Republicans unilaterally disarmed on abortion, and as a result, many of their candidates were wholly unprepared to engage intelligently on the issue. As a woman who was the victim of an attempted rape and saved by a passing motorist, I clearly understand the outrage against goofy men who don't appear to understand the pain and trauma associated with the evil act of rape. Both Republicans and Democrats continue to allow a back log of rape kit DNA processing, which could help usher in justice for violated and utterly distressed rape victims, despite the passage of the Debbie Smith Act in 2004. And they have no idea whatsoever how to compassionately discuss rape.

But the fact remains that most Christians believe that life begins at conception. This issue is not going away. But as for Concerned Women PAC candidates go, they will get neither our endorsement nor help if they are not prepared to present a cogent argument for life.

The naysayers are out in full force. "Dump those troglodytes," they pout. Well, if the Republican establishment isn't moved by concern for unborn babies, then maybe they will be moved by the reality of the numbers. According to Pew Research Center, 52% of Americans believe abortion is morally wrong. Many of the constituencies that they so desperately need to reach have much more in common with social conservatives than fiscal conservatives. Hispanics, in particular, are a natural constituency in that they are both hardworking and religious. That community is far more at home at a Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) rally than a Club for Growth event. Young people are also very pro-life.

And finally, we will leave you if you betray us. Yes, I said it - and I mean it. Life is not negotiable. The unborn are not political pawns. Abortion is a human rights issue, and we will stand down no more than the abolitionist would have conceded his just cause. If the establishment works to favor pro-abortion candidates, then about 51 percent of their voters who identify as either Catholic or Evangelical will simply stay home or find another party.

In his book, Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, President Ronald Reagan encouraged those of us in the pro-life community to never give up. He wrote, "Despite the formidable obstacles before us, we must not lose heart."

For the sake of the unborn, and their precious fetal position, we will not lose heart.

Penny Young Nance is the president of Concerned Women for America (CWA) and CWALAC. Nance most recently served as President of Nance and Associates and as Special Advisor for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where she advised the Chairman and the Commissioners on media and social issues. Before joining the FCC, Nance was founder and President of the Kids First Coalition, a non-profit organization focused on educating Capitol Hill, the media, and the public on a variety of issues related to children.

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