Republican Party Leader: Pro-Life View on Abortion Helps GOP at Polls

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 31, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Republican Party Leader: Pro-Life View on Abortion Helps GOP at Polls Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 31, 2006

Washington, DC ( — The head of the Republican Party says its pro-life position on abortion is an asset to candidates at the polls. Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman says the pro-life cause is a political winner for the party and says that abandoning the pro-life position would be detrimental to its success.

Mehlman made the comments in an interview with Terence Jeffrey, the editor of Human Events, a conservative newsmagazine.

When asked whether the pro-life view was good for Republicans, Mehlman told Jeffrey, "Absolutely."

As proof, Mehlman pointed to victories by pro-life candidates against pro-abortion candidates in the politically contentious states of Missouri and Minnesota.

In Missouri, pro-life congressman Jim Talent defeated pro-abortion incumbent Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan. In Minnesota, pro-life Republican former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman defeated pro-abortion former Democratic Vice President Fritz Mondale.

Mehlman pointed to exit polls in both races showing abortion as a major factor for the pro-life candidates.

According to exist surveys conducted by the Fox News Channel, voters picked abortion as the second most important issue on which they based their vote. Of those voters, approximately 80 percent chose Talent over Carnahan.

"It would certainly be fair to say Sen. Carnahan was defeated on the pro-life issue," Doug Johnson, legislative director for National Right to Life, told at the time.

Approximately 14 percent of Minnesota voters said abortion was their top issue — third highest of all political issues, according to the exit polls. Coleman had a 81-17 percent edge over Mondale.

"Those people that say we should abandon our pro-life platform, I believe, are wrong from a political perspective, and I think are wrong from the perspective of what’s right for this party," Mehlman told Jeffrey in the interview.

Despite its benefit for the Republican Party, Mehlman also said opposing the abortion is the right thing to do and the GOP should continue to keep a plank in its platform to a pro-life amendment to the Constitution "because it is morally right."

"Mehlman’s analysis can explain the self-contradictory behavior Democrats often exhibit on abortion," Jeffrey writes of the Democrat Party, which favors unlimited legalized abortion.

"Democrats find themselves caught between the demands of commonsense and good morality on the one hand and a core constituency adamant about preserving legalized abortion on the other," Jeffrey explains. "They forsake commonsense and morality to appease their base."

For their part, Democratic officials have recognized the need to appeal to pro-life voters and abortion advocates have been up in arms at their recruiting Senate candidate Bob Casey in Pennsylvania to challenge pro-life Sen. Rick Santorum. Casey opposes abortion.