Abortion has always been a hot button issue for Republican voters. The farther right they leaned, the more vociferous they became about it. Once Roe vs Wade paved the way for legalized abortions in the U.S., Democrats largely considered the issue settled, and their voters felt secure enough that it was not a driving issue for them in voting. For right-leaning Republican voters, they became more incensed, and politicians courting their votes became incensed along with them, at least when it was time to campaign.
For years Republicans ignored the polling that consistently showed a majority of Americans, especially women, always believed abortion should be legal and safe in all or most cases. Many continued for decades to use the promise of overturning Roe vs. Wade as a trigger to motivate their voters to get to the polls.
Now that the Supreme Court has over-turned Roe vs. Wade, and many states are making abortion illegal and unsafe, these once anti-abortion adamant Republicans are recognizing that this may cost them greatly in votes come election day and are suddenly softening their stance on the abortion issue.
56% of all voters now say the issue of abortion will be very important to them this November and more women are registering to vote than men since the Court’s decision. The voters in republican Kansas voted to protect abortion rights in the state’s constitution.
Suddenly Republican politicians are scrambling to dial back their anti-abortion rhetoric realizing their hardline stance, once used to motivate Republican voters to the polls, may backfire and cost them the ever-important votes. Blake Masters, a Republican senate candidate in Arizona removed a line from his campaign website that read “I am 100% pro-life.” Even Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is up for re-election in November and who would be considered one of the more consistently conservative members of Congress, has backed off his stance on abortion recently.
For these Republicans, their softening anti-abortion rhetoric looks suspiciously as if it has always only ever been about the votes.