A reminder that the GOP latched onto abortion as a cynical way to get people to vote against their economic interests.
From “Lifer,” Emily Bazelon, NYT Magazine:
“It’s hard to remember now, but for a brief moment around the time the Supreme Court decided Roe in 1973, it looked as if legalizing abortion would not be hugely divisive. Between 1967 and 1970, 17 states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, lifted some restrictions on the procedure. The vote for Roe on the Supreme Court was 7 to 2, with conservative Republican appointees signing on. In a Gallup poll, 68 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats said in 1972…that the decision to abort should be solely between a woman and her doctor.
“As those polls indicate, opposing abortion wasn’t always a moral imperative for the Republican Party. But it would soon become a tactical one. In 1979, two G.O.P. strategist, Richard Viguerie and Paul Weyrich, seized on the issue as a tool for wooing Catholic and evangelical voters to the party. As Linda Greenhouse and Reva B. Siegel write in their book, ‘Before Roe v. Wade,’ the pair approached the Rev. Jerry Falwell with the idea of organizing a socially conservative ‘Moral Majority,’ with abortion as the central issue. Viguerie and Weyrich also set up an early anti-abortion political action committee for the 1980 election, which they used to help get like-minded candidates elected. And in fact, around that time Republicans in Congress started voting for abortion restrictions at a higher rate than Democrats — even though Republican voters would remain more likely to be pro-choice than Democrats until the late 1980’s.”
Here is the 1976 GOP platform on abortion, while the big tent still stood, and their last platform to tolerate any disagreement on the issue:
“The question of abortion is one of the most difficult and controversial of our time. It is undoubtedly a moral and personal issue but it also involves complex questions relating to medical science and criminal justice. There are those in our Party who favor complete support for the Supreme Court decision which permits abortion on demand. There are others who share sincere convictions that the Supreme Court’s decision must be changed by a constitutional amendment prohibiting all abortions. Others have yet to take a position, or they have assumed a stance somewhere in between polar positions.”
However you feel about Roe, it does not permit “abortion on demand.”