Over the past year, the Republican Party has attempted to re-brand itself to appeal more to female voters. But at least some members of the party aren’t prepared to soften their rhetoric on women’s issues. At the Republican National Committee’s annual meeting, which begins on Wednesday in Washington, a coalition of conservatives plans to present a resolution urging the GOP to take a more forceful stance against abortion.
The “Resolution on Republican Pro-Life Strategy,” which was spearheaded by Delaware National Committeewoman Ellen Barrosse and co-sponsored by 15 other RNC members, was first obtained by CNN. “Pro-life Republicans should fight back against deceptive rhetoric regardless of those in the Republican Party who encourage them to stay silent,” the measure states, calling on conservatives to be forthright about their pro-life beliefs and urging the RNC to withdraw support from candidates who shy away from address abortion policy.
“Not talking about it has not worked well for us,” Barrosse explained to CNN. “Not responding has not worked well for us. It’s a conversation the party has to have.”
Kirsten Kukowsi, an RNC spokeswoman, echoed those sentiments. “After spending last cycle watching Democrats make false claims on the so-called ‘war on women,’ this is an acknowledgement that we need to take back the messaging and positively promote our pro-life agenda,” Kukowsi told the National Journal.
The resolution cites several abortion restrictions — such as parental notification laws, mandatory waiting periods, and later abortion bans — that Republicans should push for, since they tend to poll better with the American public. The measure will be introduced on Wednesday and will likely move on to a full committee vote on Friday.
The RNC’s annual meeting happens to coincide with the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion. Earlier this month, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus announced that he will rearrange the meeting’s schedule to allow members to attend the March for Life, the annual anti-abortion protest in the nation’s capital. Priebus will also charter buses to transport people to the rally. It’s the first time that a major U.S. political party has worked to accommodate the March for Life.
So far, the GOP’s rebranding efforts haven’t gone very well. Polling released this past fall — about a year after the 2012 presidential elections spurred Republicans to reconsider their strategy for appealing to women — found that female voters are actually drifting even further away from the Republican Party.