In the 2014 elections, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker recorded an ad where he gazed into the camera and calmly said that while he is “pro-life,” he supports “legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for women considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision up to a woman and her doctor. Reasonable people can disagree on this issue.”
Seeing that ad, you might not have known that major medical associations say that legislation in question actually makes women less safe, or that it closes down safe, legal clinics. You might have thought Walker sounded a lot like a moderate – just like Republican Senate candidates Thom Tillis and Cory Gardner, both of whom supported the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision but proclaimed their plan made birth control pills available over the counter. All three cruised to victory. (That was the last anyone heard about that over the counter birth control plan.) Walker is expected to run for 2016 GOP presidential nomination.
All that left advocates for access to contraception and abortion sputtering, especially in the wake of their being told that one reason Gardner beat incumbent Democrat Mark Udall was that senator talked too much about women’s health. It’s the impetus behind NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Own It campaign, launched Thursday.
NARAL’s president, Ilyse Hogue, pointed to data that shows that 7 in 10 Americans say they believe that abortion should be legal and accessible. (Polling on abortion differs greatly depending on how the question is structured.) That, Hogue argued, is why Republicans try to repudiate their social conservative base the moment they win a primary.
The aim of Own It, said Hogue is that Republicans “can’t etch-a-sketch away their positions in the general election,” and that they be asked clearly and specifically about those positions, including by advocates who the group said will show up at Republican events.
“The Faith and Freedom summit in Iowa this Saturday is where we will have wonderful advocates who will be on the ground asking the question of why the hopefuls think they know better about women and families about what’s right for us,” said Hogue.
Generally, when asked, Hogue said, the candidates “either lie — like they did in 2014 — backpedal” – she name-checked those 2014 candidates – “or they say what they really mean” like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, both of whom lost 2012 Senate campaigns after controversial comments about rape and abortion.
The Own It website also has extensive documentation of votes, statements, and positions held by each potential GOP candidate.