In the wake of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, pro-lifers have had to come to grips with the fact that much more work lies ahead. A pro-life amendment suffered a decisive defeat in Kansas, and public-opinion polling has shown continued skepticism towards the pro-life position in the months following Dobbs.
If winning in Dobbs simply meant a smaller GOP margin in the House, it would be a tradeoff worth taking. But beyond the political realm, the pro-life cause is losing the public relations battle as well. Clumsy legislative texts, viral distortions and misinformation, and well-meaning but misinformed advocates have raised questions about pro-lifers’ seriousness in protecting children and their mothers.
Much focus and time has been spent on ectopic pregnancies, cases of rape and incest, and other thankfully rare cases. But most women who have an abortions tend to cite concerns that are economic in nature—concerns over being able to afford a child, or worries that a baby would make it harder to provide for their family or harm their job prospects. Conservatives have struggled to put together a compelling slate of policies aimed at reducing the factors that make many women feel like abortion is the only choice for them.
Over the long term, conservatives should advance policies that make life easier for all families. Policies like a reformed child tax credit (CTC), paid leave, or better child care options would be broadly pro-family and lessen the economic demands on parents, particularly those facing unexpected pregnancies.