Opinion: Nikki Haley's Abortion Ban Rhetoric Does More Harm Than Good for Battleground Republicans

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

On Wednesday, Presidential candidate Nikki Haley announced she would support a federal abortion ban if elected. Haley did not specify a gestational age that the imagined policy would protect. But, she admitted this proposal is a long shot, noting the need for 60 Republican votes in the US Senate and that hasn’t been the case in the last century.

At St. Anselm College on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, Haley said:

It would take a majority of the House, 60 senators, and a president to sign it. We haven’t had 60 Republican senators in 100 years.

Reading Haley’s comments made me feel similarly to when Lindsey Graham introduced a 15-week federal abortion ban on the cusp of the 2022 midterm election… kind of like a gut punch, leaving me to wonder if the ship was being sunk on purpose.

While I am pro-life, I value life, and I put my personal focus on support of women in crisis pregnancy, I find Haley’s comments less than helpful. Haley is correct in noting that Republicans are a long way from securing 60 Senate seats, and even so, there would be members that crossed party lines on the issue. The ban is unlikely, but Democrat voters in battleground states do not see it that way. 

In the 2022 election, Nevada Democrats leaned in on the abortion issue after SCOTUS reversed the long-standing Roe v. Wade decision. Unfortunately, Democrat campaigns misled voters to believe that we needed federal representatives to “protect women’s rights” although, in the Silver State, a reverse referendum from the 90s requires any change in our abortion law to be put on the ballot for voters to again decide. Abortion isn’t at risk in Nevada, but telling the truth is secondary for our Democrat candidates — inciting reactionary momentum is the top priority.

I wrote about this issue here:

Too Stupid: Nevada Democrats’ Abortion Lies Insult Voters’ Intellect

And, while all of our RedState readers aren’t Nevadans, and much of the implications to be laid out do not directly impact them… we lost the Nevada Senate seat last year by less than 8,000 votes in an election with over a million ballots cast. Republicans would have control of both chambers of Congress if all went well in Nevada. Instead, Adam Laxalt (R) lost by 0.8 percent to incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto (D).

Laxalt wasn’t the only campaign to miss the mark by a hair: Republican April Becker lost to incumbent empty-suit Susie Lee (D) by a slim 4,646 votes in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. Becker was marred by political advertising painting her as a pro-life extremist, but attorney Becker said she sees it as an issue for the states to decide and would vote against a federal ban, calling it unconstitutional. Becker went as far as to call out her opponent’s use of the abortion issue as a “red herring” saying that the Dems were using it as a distraction:

 …take the public’s focus away from the economy and what they’ve done to crush the economy.

Becker announced her candidacy for Clark County Commission District C, on Tuesday.

I’m hoping that what happened in Nevada’s 2022 election doesn’t happen again, as Republicans look to unseat the much more vulnerable and lesser-known Senator Jacky Rosen (D). Predictably, Rosen is using the same formula to galvanize voters into believing they must vote for her to protect so-called reproductive rights.

Here is a series of campaign tweets from Rosen on abortion:

The truth is, Nevada wouldn’t likely comply with the highly improbable federal ban on abortions, anyway. Nevada has a robust marijuana industry, without any federal permissions. Nevada is running legal brothels, without a care in the world about what any outside jurisdiction thinks. And, the hyperbole surrounding potential abortion bans has driven state policy in the last two legislative sessions. 

In 2019, the Democrat and female-majority state legislature passed the “Trust Nevada Women Act,” in anticipation (somehow) that Roe would be overturned. In doing so, the state scrapped the common-sense safeguard of age verification. Verifying a patient’s age really only matters when the individual is a minor child. Now, children can claim to be older than they are, as to not alert reporting crimes or abuses that may be occurring in their lives. Not only this, the law decriminalized performing abortions without proper licensure, while restricting the ability to compel a witness to testify about such backroom procedures. These reckless reforms are concerning as Las Vegas is a hub for sex trafficking. 

Currently, the NV legislature is passing more abortion-related bills. Senate Bill 131 seeks to protect out-of-state abortion patients and providers from being extradited for prosecution in other states. This is a codified version of an Executive Order from former NV Gov. Sisolak (D), during his failed re-election bid.

Two Republican state senators crossed party lines in support of the bill, (which may be due to redistricting leaving their seats vulnerable) and Governor Joe Lombardo (R) has previously signaled support. The Governor’s support may have more to do with jurisdictional and criminal justice perspectives as well as upholding state law as the former Clark County Sheriff, rather than a belief in pro-choice policy. Lombardo ran on a pro-life platform while being clear that he would uphold the state’s laws regarding the issue.

In conclusion, imagining a federal abortion ban out loud in key primary states, as Haley did in New Hampshire, does no good for Republicans in many battleground states. Instead, we see the reactionary policy in our state legislatures, we spend countless hours and campaign efforts clarifying how abortion laws actually work in our state, and we lose races by extremely close margins as voters are galvanized by hyperbolic fear tactics from the left. 

It’s not that I am not pro-life, I do consider myself such. I just can’t watch Haley, a presidential candidate that has no chance at even winning the nomination, throwing a Senate race in our battleground state before it even begins. The Republican field against Rosen in Nevada hasn’t even emerged and we have our work cut out for us undoing the damage of the rhetoric for the umpteenth year. 

Yes, you’re gonna need 60 votes in the Senate, Haley, but you aren’t going to pick up a flippable seat from Nevada if you keep floating an improbable abortion policy that fuels Democrat dishonesty and marginalizes the swing voters. Please, find another way to be pro-life aside from making sure we lose critical races in 2024. 


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