As both sides of the abortion issue navigate the political landscape of this “Post Roe” world, Republicans still appear to be scrambling for a strategy, and that worries South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
“I hope that in this next election cycle that we see people be strong and honest and truthful about their values,” Noem tells CBN News. “If you’re pro-life, be pro-life and explain to people why you are.”
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That, however, remains a bit complicated for the GOP. The question centers partly on how far is too far when it comes to abortion restrictions. Just this week, for example, North Carolina introduced a bill banning abortion after the first trimester.
Some pro-life Republicans in Congress like Nancy Mace from South Carolina are signaling a warning to the party. “As Republicans, we need to read the room on this issue because the vast majority of folks are not in the extremes,” she recently told CBS News.
A recent NPR/PBS/Marist poll shows 61% of the country supports abortion rights while also supporting limits on it. While Democrats push for no restrictions, it’s Republicans that have been on the defensive, seen as wanting to restrict women’s rights.
“When you’re losing by 10 points, there is a messaging issue,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said recently. “Abortion is still an issue and we can’t allow the Democrats to define Republicans and put millions of dollars up in lies and have it go unanswered because the lies become the truth if they go unanswered.”
Governor Noem agrees with that sentiment, telling CBN News there’s lots of work ahead. “We have to get back to the science and the belief of what we know: when a child is created in the womb, their ability to feel and their unique DNA that they have. Continue to talk to them about the options and support that we have for women and what we need to be doing more to continue to help them through a time of crisis. That’s the conversation that we need to know. That communication has not been fantastic in the past.”
The political reality is that some Republicans would rather avoid the subject altogether, seeing it as radioactive right now, especially at the federal level.
“Well, that is a discussion that I think a lot of people are having right now is if there should be a bill at the federal level or not,” Noem says. “I would encourage them to have a strategy for how we make sure that the American people see our heart.”
While GOP officials work toward a consensus message, Noem sees a bigger overall strategy. She believes, no matter the topic, abortion or otherwise, building a relationship with others is the key to finding more common ground.
“I would encourage everybody who’s out there complaining to go find someone you quit talking to because you disagree on politics or government or something,” Noem tells CBN News. “Sit down and start by listening to them, hear them, nobody feels like they’re being listened to anymore. and then start asking them questions. You may find that you understand their heart a little bit more, you get the chance to have a policy discussion you haven’t had with them for a very long time. Remember that God can change someone’s heart and change everything overnight.”
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