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Anti-abortion rights activist Marjorie Dannenfelser says GOP should be leaning into abortion issue —”The Takeout”

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Less than three weeks until Election Day, longtime anti-abortion rights activist Marjorie Dannenfelser says Republican candidates should be leaning into abortion as a winning conservative issue — not running away. 

A raft of Republican candidates, many of whom won primaries touting support for the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, have moderated their positions in the general election or de-emphasized abortion as a campaign issue.

“I am most seriously displeased,” Dannenfelser said, quoting the novel “Pride and Prejudice.” “Most seriously displeased that people who think that this is the death of a human being would all of a sudden see it politically inconvenient to be part of what they advocate.”

Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, blamed some Republicans for “inch[ing] to the middle, maybe the back of the bus” on abortion as Election Day approaches. 

“Letting the dust settle without being a vocal advocate means you let the dust settle on the wrong side,” Dannenfelser told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett for this week’s episode of “The Takeout.”

In overturning Roe v. Wade this June, the Supreme Court left the question of abortion rights to state governments. Polls consistently show a majority of Americans support access to abortion, and it is a top issue for Democrats this election cycle. Twelve states ban the practice with limited exceptions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research non-profit. 

Dannenfelser also weighed in on the Georgia Senate race, which pits pastor and Democratic incumbent Sen. Rafael Warnock against former professional football player Herschel Walker, a Republican.

Walker has expressed staunch opposition to abortion rights and denied Daily Beast reports from earlier this month that Walker paid for a woman’s abortion in 2009. 

“What I do know is what his position is. It has been unyielding,” Dannenfelser said of Walker’s opposition to abortion. “I can see that it would be most seriously disturbing if any of [the Daily Beast reporting] is true. But I think we have an obvious distinction and a choice…You know, sometimes it’s tough, but we’re talking about policy.”

Dannenfelser called Walker a “flawed hero” but preferable to Warnock on abortion.


  • Political polarization around abortion: “That is a real grief for the pro-life movement…Human rights isn’t about party. And – as complex and important as it is, it also contains of that many approaches and voices – men, women, minorities, parties, religions. They’re all that have human rights in their heart, have a different way of promoting it and communicating. So yeah, it was a grief. But you know what you do if you’re a political organization or a PAC, you can’t grieve too long. You got to go out and act. So, you know, we call it the Velvet Hammer. We love you and but we are going to we’re going to reward our friends and punish your enemies.”
  • Slow pace of social change: “This human rights movement, like many others, it already has been incremental. It’s not a matter of whether I say it should be. It is incremental. And…do I think we should stop it at a 15[-week ban] or 12[-week ban]. No, I think every child should be protected. I’m not pretending that I don’t. I do. But I’m just saying that this is how human rights causes, how every successful human rights movement in our nation has succeeded was being — was incrementally. 

Executive producer: Arden Farhi

Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson

CBSN Production: Eric Soussanin 
Show email:
Twitter: @TakeoutPodcast
Instagram: @TakeoutPodcast

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