GOP Seeks Political Footing On Abortion Ahead Of Annual March For Life On Friday

FILE - Demonstrators protest about abortion outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 24, 2022. The key consequence of the June 2022 Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling was to return decision-making on abortion policy to individual states. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

House Republican leaders have thrown their support behind two anti-abortion bills that focus on unwanted pregnancies and pregnancy centers, ahead of the largest anti-abortion event in America, today’s March for Life.

The bills, which passed the House on Thursday, reflect GOP leaders’ desire to avoid votes on controversial messages that would impose strict abortion limits. Speaker Mike Johnson and House Pro-Life Caucus Chair Chris Smith will address the March for Life on Friday.

Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, is a culturally conservative lawmaker who has adopted a faith-driven approach to politics. Social conservatives cheered his rise to Speaker, hoping he would bring anti-abortion and anti-transgender policies up for a vote. However, Johnson has said that the House GOP won’t center its agenda around social issues like abortion at a time when it holds a narrow majority and is split between hard-liners and vulnerable swing-district members.

There’s little indication that Republicans could bring up a federal abortion ban measure in Congress, breaking with a trend that saw Republicans pass 20-week abortion ban measures three times in the past when they held the House majority. The GOP is still grappling with whether to push aggressively for more anti-abortion measures or try to hold a more moderate line on the issue.

The two bills that passed the House are both championed by the GOP’s anti-abortion wing. The first proposal, the Protecting Life in Crisis Act, would provide grants to organizations offering resources to pregnant women in crisis and other family services. The second, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, would permanently codify and expand a ban on taxpayer-funded abortions.

As the March for Life gathers in Washington, debates about reproductive rights continue to rage across the country. Last summer saw the Supreme Court pivot to the right with the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who has a conservative record on cultural issues. States are also grappling with changing abortion laws as they face legal challenges highlighting growing political divides on the issue.