BIRTH CONTROL, ABORTION

Could the GOP Rebrand to Champion Birth Control?

Idea is a weak effort to counter backlash to anti-abortion bans

Vanessa Gallman
3 min readJan 16, 2024

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Photo by Sharon Waldron on Unsplash

Kellyanne Conway, the political strategist who managed Donald Trump’s winning presidential campaign, suggests that the GOP would gain voters by encouraging access to birth control.

Not likely.

The party’s current push against birth control and for extreme abortion bans make it a hard to accept that it would support any reproductive rights. Several conservative women groups have already called the idea a political sellout of the belief that life begins at conception. They also argue that birth control leads to more casual sex, unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

A recent survey by Conway’s consulting firm found that three of four independents and 66 percent of pro-lifers support contraceptives. Making the products cheaper and more accessible could appeal to young voters “in the prime of their years and choosing to conceive or not conceive,” Conway told Politico.

Forty-seven percent of Republicans and 49 percent of conservative women surveyed said they would vote for a candidate in another party to ensure access to birth control.

Whether offered as serious political strategy or a public-relations gimmick, Conway’s proposal reflects nervousness about the consequences of anti-abortion policies in GOP-controlled states.

For instance, the Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that a woman whose fetus had a fatal genetic condition was not close enough to death to qualify as an exception under the state’s strict ban. She left the state to have the procedure. Also, an Ohio prosecutor arrested a woman who had a miscarriage at home. A grand jury refused to indict her on a felony charge of improper disposal of a corpse.

Even Trump, whose Supreme Court appointees helped end the federal right to abortion in 2022, has expressed concern that the abortion issue could hurt GOP campaigns when he is running for a second term. In a Gallup poll conducted a year after the ruling, 61 percent of respondents said it was a bad decision.

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Vanessa Gallman

Experienced journalist, educator and retired opinion-page editor with occasional musings