Last week, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) held a closed-door meeting with members and pro-life groups to discuss the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson decision. Townhall was exclusively invited to a lively conversation which featured several committee members, as well as pro-life experts from the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) and Heritage Action.
"Candidate Biden announced he supported taxpayer funded abortions, so RSC started this Congress with a pledge signed by over 200 Republicans opposing any bill that weakens Hyde protections. For months now we have been collaborating with groups like the SBA List to develop the GOP’s pro-life strategy after the Dobbs ruling. RSC Members are committed to staying ahead of the curve, so that no matter what happens, we have a plan to protect life," Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who chairs the committee, told Townhall in a statement about the meeting.
Mallory Carroll, vice president of communications for the SBA List, reminded that overturning Roe v. Wade will return the abortion decision back to the states, as polling shows Americans want. A draft opinion that was leaked earlier this month shows the U.S. Supreme Court looks to be doing that in the upcoming Dobbs decision.
Other message points Carroll mentioned include emphasizing the humanity of the situation, as well as of the unborn child, and having a prepared pro-life movement for when Roe is overturned.
Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action, similarly shared it is important to show a contrast between the left and the right, and that lawmakers ought to emphasize options for the mother as well as humanity. In a conversation with Townhall after the meeting, Anderson once again emphasized such talking points.
Heritage Action, which has been instrumental in helping states pass their own pro-life laws, will support laws protecting unborn children from conception and onwards.
The Democratic Party's position supports abortion on demand throughout pregnancy without limits. Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate voted yet again on the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would expand Roe by ending pro-life laws passed by the states. The bill, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last September, has failed multiple times in the Senate. It could not get votes from all Democrats, or from Republicans in support of codifying Roe.
Anderson referenced polling from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) that was released earlier this month. It's not merely internal polling, though, that shows such a perspective.
Democrats are hoping that the leak and fear-mongering about abortion will help them in the midterms, but that doesn't look to be the case, as the issue could actually be a win for Republicans, especially if they stick to the right messaging.
A major discussion point during the meeting was what kind of legislation Republicans are looking to support. This includes while they are in the minority, but also when they are likely to be in the majority for the next Congress. The GOP is heavily favored to take control back of the House come the November midterm elections.
One such move is the discharge petition process. If 218 members sign on, a bill must receive a vote on the House floor. For years, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has refused to allow the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to come up for a vote, currently in the discharge petition process. Such a bill would add enforcement to legal protections for babies born alive from abortions.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), presently the House Minority Whip, has assured that such a bill will receive a vote once his party takes control.
But, Republicans are looking to go further.
When it comes to voting on born-alive protections, as well as on protections for unborn children at 20 weeks, the aim is not just to protect these pain-capable unborn children, but highlight the extremism of pro-abortion Democrats.
Republicans also want to push bills to protect unborn children from the time of a heartbeat, at around six weeks, or from conception, as a way to protect an increasing amount of unborn children.
One such member who spoke throughout the meeting, including about discharge petitions, was Rep. Bob Good (R-VA). He also spoke with Townhall in a one-on-one interview.
When asked about taking the lead on the issue, Rep. Good offered, "I think it's important for us, as Republicans, to rise to the moment," as he spoke of "the opportunity here, after 49 years, to finally have the opportunity to protect life without the restriction of the unjust, unconstitutional, wrongly-decided Roe decision." Part of that, according to the congressman, means "it's time to be bold and decisive." This includes putting both Democrats and Republicans on the record, especially if we "don't have Roe to hide behind."
While Good said he would "certainly prefer" that they make moves on the Life at Conception bill from Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV), he would also "certainly support" bringing up a discharge petition on the heartbeat bill from legislation from Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA). Good went on to say that "I support protecting any and all lives that we can, so I do support incrementalism if that is the only path that we have" and that "I certainly would vote to reduce abortions in any manner."
When it comes to a timeline, as we are slightly over five months before the November midterm elections, Good offered: "I do expect we're gonna have the effort to get a discharge petition and there's gonna be some of us who are gonna purse that, absolutely." The congressman assured he and other members will put pressure to get all Republicans on board, "to show who is really standing up for life in the Republican Party," which he reminded "is the primary responsibility of our government," as indicated by our founding documents.
Good also offered a thoughtful point on such pro-life bills offering protections for babies born alive, or pain-capable unborn children, which is that they're "not going to succeed in this Congress anyway, I do not see the point in stopping there." He emphasized he is not opposed to a dual track of having the above-mentioned bills come up to expose Democratic extremism.
Good wished to mention another point addressed in the meeting, which was that it is time to make moves on the issue, to not merely have one pro-life bill a year. "We've got to be bold and aggressive on what means most to our base, and frankly what should mean most to us. It's right, irrespective of the politics, but I also believe the politics will support us," he said.
Throughout the one-on-one conversation, Rep. Good emphasized the importance of this issue. "If you can't trust someone on life," he said, "you can't trust them on anything," especially since "we recognize now it's indisputable, the science of life" and "now it's just a matter of what premium or value do we place on that life, what rights do we give to that precious, unborn, innocent life."
Anderson, in speaking with Townhall, also shared her perspective about there being "tremendous amount of support and consensus around the six week heartbeat bill to do that this Congress in an effort to show not only that conservatives in the House are serious about protecting life, but also to show the extremism of the Left," offering that "it accomplishes both."
When it comes to a timeline, Anderson said "our ask to Congress is not to wait for the majority, but to try to push these bills now, and then if conservatives are lucky to take back the majority in the fall, that we put a menu of options that protect life." These include born-alive protections, as well as the option for "heartbeat to come back again" for a vote, which she emphasized is what there is a consensus around.
For all of the various aspects of abortion issue that were discussed, Amanda Banks, of Family Policy Alliance, shared a hopeful reminder with members that this is the best time to be happy to be pro-life. This decision is what the pro-life movement has been waiting for, and there is reason to be optimistic.