JD Vance concedes major abortion rights arguments after Ohio bill slapped down

Ohio Republican Senator JD Vance walked back on some major points of the GOP’s abortion rights stance after his state voted to enshrine protections for the procedure.

On Tuesday, Ohio voters made clear that they wanted to protect the constitutional right to abortion in the state by supporting Issue 1 on Tuesday. Mr Vance called the vote “a gut punch” in a lengthy X post.

“Giving up on the unborn is not an option. It’s politically dumb and morally repugnant. Instead, we need to understand why we lost this battle so we can win the war,” he wrote.

In an apparent message to other members of his party, the Ohio Republican pointed out four key GOP values that contributed to Issue 1’s demise at the ballot box.

First, he suggested that the current Republican view on the procedure is too extreme.

“We got creamed among voters who disliked both Issue 1 and also Ohio’s current law,” which bans abortions after 22 weeks. He said polling and conversations indicated that voters would rather permit the procedure than “the other extreme.”

In his second concession, Sen Vance explained that voters distrust Republican officials when it comes to abortion. Later in his tweet, Mr Vance discussed the need for better messaging. “You can criticize the propaganda effort on the other side for lying to people about these issues or confusing the populace, but it suggests we have to do a much better job of persuasion,” he wrote.

On top of this, he offered up another point rarely acknowledged by GOP officials: “Having an unplanned pregnancy is scary.” Mr Vance cotninued, “We need people to see us as the pro-life party, not just the anti-abortion party.” However, he didn’t explain what this branding as a “pro-life party” would mean, like providing child care, or some other form of financial support to new mothers.

According to a 2014 statistic from Guttmacher, approximately 75 per cent of abortion patients were low-income.

In a fourth concession, Mr Vance then admitted that Republicans must include exceptions.

“I am as pro life as anyone, and I want to save as many babies as possible. This is not about moral legitimacy but political reality,” he wrote. “Give people a choice between abortion restrictions very early in pregnancy with exceptions, or the pro-choice position, and the pro life view has a fighting chance,” the Ohio senator said.

Aside from these proposed changes to the GOP agenda, Mr Vance then took his argument in a different direction: “We’ve spent so much time winning a legal argument on abortion that we’ve fallen behind on the moral argument.”

Sen Vance’s assertion will be seen by some as confusing. It’s unclear exactly what the senator meant when he referred to “winning a legal argument,” as a judge last month blocked the state’s six-week abortion ban indefinitely; it appears that argument lost.

Regarding the moral argument, he seemed to once again reiterate the need for exceptions and clarity in the GOP’s messaging around the issue. Mr Vance wrote that after speaking to “many decent people” who voted for the abortion protection measure, he learned that some “hated” the lack of exceptions and others feared what voting against Issue 1 would mean for ectopic pregnancies or late-term miscarriages.

In conclusion, Sen Vance wrote, “There is something sociopathic about a political movement that tells young women (and men) that it is liberating to murder their own children. So let’s keep fighting for our country’s children, and let’s find a way to win.”