According to a document obtained by VICE News, Republicans have prepared secret talking points that to defend Alabama’s new restrictive abortion law.
The law, which allows abortions only if a pregnancy poses a “serious health risk” to the mother, is not in effect yet, and will almost certainly be challenged in court, where Republicans hope to escalate it to a challenge to Roe v. Wade.
The document, titled “Messaging in the Minority,” was produced by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a caucus of conservative House Republicans of which about 70% of House Republicans are dues-paying members. Containing a note that states it is “strictly OFF-THE-RECORD” and offering “messaging guidance” on “our pro-life platform,” the document includes:
“Committing a second violent act with abortion to a woman who has already been victimized by an act of rape or incest could physically or psychologically wound her further. Every single child should be afforded the opportunity to live, regardless of how they were conceived.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the only GOP leader that does not belong to the RSC, reports that he has not seen these talking points, but that he does not support abortion laws that do not provide for exemptions in the case of rape and incest.
“I believe in pro-life. I believe in the protection of children. I do not believe in infanticide, I believe in three exemptions only: Life of the mother, rape and incest. Members run and take positions. It's a personal position, and they have to stake out their own personal position, just as I have.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (Washington), a former GOP leader and current RSC member, said she does not support the document’s talking points.
“I've always supported that exemption. I think we stay focused on what we're doing at the federal level and the states; that's the laboratories of democracy.”
The document acknowledges that some Republicans may not agree with parts of the law, but that the GOP must present a united front on the issue as a whole.
“While some Republicans may disagree with the timing and/or particular legal strategies being implemented with the various state measures, it is critical our members speak with clarity and conviction about the broader issue of the sanctity and inherent value of every human life.”