In an effort to sound like the “compassionate” party, the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm is reportedly circulating a messaging memo among members that gives the GOP talking points on how exactly they should publicly celebrate the Supreme Court’s plans to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The three-page memo, obtained by Axios, is titled “INITIAL TAKEAWAYS FROM OPINION RESEARCH ON ABORTION” and gives Republicans tips and tricks for how to properly address news about the leaked draft majority opinion to overturn Roe, the 1970s-era landmark SCOTUS ruling that recognized abortion as a constitutional right.
It coaches Republicans on how to be the “compassionate consensus builder on abortion policy,” by saying things like, most “Americans are compassionate people who want to welcome every new baby into the world” and “states should have the flexibility to implement reasonable restrictions.” (You don’t need me to tell you that “reasonable” is hardly the right word to describe the bounty-hunter style enforcement mechanism that is the law of the land in Texas, or the outright bans on abortion we’re seeing pop up as many red states race one another to prepare for Roe‘s eventual fall.)
The memo also guides GOPers to harp on the fact that the party believes “we should care for and support pregnant women in difficult circumstances,” even though the majority of new abortion restrictions being passed in Republican-controlled states include no exception for rape, incest or human trafficking. The section that gives members guidance on how to “forcefully refute Democrat lies regarding GOP positions on abortion and women’s health care” is particularly cringey. And also … not true. It reads:
“Joe Biden and the Democrats have and will continue to spread lies about where Republicans stand on abortion and women’s health care. The facts:
• Republicans DO NOT want to take away contraception.
• Republicans DO NOT want to take away mammograms or other health care provided specifically to women.
• Republicans DO NOT want to throw doctors and women in jail. Mothers should be held harmless under the law.”
Again, a bunch of these bills not only target the pregnant person and doctors specifically for getting or providing an abortion, but the law in Texas also criminalizes the act of helping a pregnant person get the procedure.
The memo also encourages Republicans to talk loudly about how Democrats are only talking about abortion a bunch because “their other policies are so absurd that they would rather talk about abortion.” It urges GOPers to spread fake information to the public too on the left’s “extreme views,” claiming all Democrats support “late term abortion.”
As we saw transpire yesterday, the fact that the draft opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito was leaked to the press took on grave importance for Republicans as they sought to avoid engaging on Roe seriously. As the party that’s used overturning Roe as its (almost) sole campaign strategy among a certain segment of the electorate for decades, you’d expect lots of grave-dancing and full-throated partying from Republicans following the news that the conservative majority of the court intends to overturn the federal right to the procedure.
Instead, the leak gave them cover. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other members of Republican leadership released scathing statements throughout the day on Tuesday, calling for swift justice to be brought for whoever leaked the document and compromised the sacredness of the High Court.
The existence of the memo combined with GOPers hyper-focus on the leak yesterday points to, in my mind, an interesting dynamic among Republicans, especially moderates.
While some have already cheered the return of abortion restrictions to the states, Republicans who aren’t Matt Gaetz know what we know. Abortion rights are popular. I cited this poll in my piece yesterday, but literally LAST WEEK, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found — as has become standard! — the majority of Americans, 54 percent, believe the Supreme Court should uphold Roe.
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening:
ICYMI this morning: 20 Years Of Democratic Backsliding Got Us To The Roe Reversal
The latest from Josh Kovensky: Who Had Access To The Leaked SCOTUS Draft Overturning Roe?
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
Five Key Takeaways From The Bombshell SCOTUS Draft Opinion Dismantling Roe — Kate Riga and Cristina Cabrera
What We Are Reading
Nothin’ but the Rent — Trevor Jackson
The Institutionalist’s Dilemma — Alex Pareene