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Republican Birth Control Strategy Will Be a Tough Sell to Far-Right Texans

Nationally, Republicans know they have a problem when it comes to reproductive freedom and the opinion of the general public. Former campaign manager and confidante of former president Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway is advising Republicans to lean into protecting access to birth control as a way to salve the wounds of Roe v. Wade’s overturn by the conservative U.S. Supreme Court. She plans to pitch her idea to Republicans on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

“You’ve got a fair number of Democrats saying that they want an alternative to Biden and Harris, or they may sit it out,” Conway said in an interview. “[Biden is] especially bleeding young voters, who you would think would be animated and interested to hear about [contraception], and who are in the prime of their years and choosing to conceive or not to conceive.”

Since the fall of constitutional protection for reproductive freedom and access to abortion, Republicans have seen consistent setbacks whenever it is a political issue. Several swing and solidly red states have passed laws or state constitutional amendments protecting abortion since the court’s 2022 decision.

Unfortunately for Conway’s plans, Texas Republicans are likely to turn a deaf ear to the idea that birth control should be protected. Despite national headlines and condemnation over Attorney General Ken Paxton’s spirited opposition to abortion even when it is clearly in the best medical interest of the mother, the polling shows that Texans are still evenly divided on reproductive choice. There’s little evidence at this time that Texas Republicans are in any danger from their evocation of a former constitutional freedom.

Even if they were, Texas Republicans seem more than willing to pursue contraception as the next target in the battle against bodily autonomy for people who can get pregnant. One year before Roe fell but during the period where Texas was leading the charge with the most restrictive abortion law in the country, Governor Greg Abbott said that he was “maybe” open to banning contraception.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who is up for re-election this year, has consistently attacked birth control by calling medications like Plan B “abortion inducing.” He has been corrected numerous times, but has never recanted his misidentification of what Plan B actually does.

When a bill came up in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022 that would protect access to abortion, not a single Texas Republican voted for it.

This is not a dedicated campaign against contraception (yet) as many feared would happen after Roe v. Wade was overturned, but it is a clear willingness to consider the issue if the conservative base shows enough for the idea. While Republicans nationwide have been hit hard by accusations of being anti-woman and anti-bodily autonomy, those cries have not yet cost any Republicans an elected position. When Beto O’Rourke challenged Abbott in 2022, he made reaching out to suburban women a key part of his strategy, promising to protect their right to choose. The outreach failed, and Abbott was re-elected.

Conway could be right about America as a whole punishing Republicans for the loss of reproductive freedom and a need to protect contraception as a reconciliation, but in Texas there’s no evidence her message has fans.

Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner
Jef Rouner is an award-winning freelance journalist, the author of The Rook Circle, and a member of The Black Math Experiment. He lives in Houston where he spends most of his time investigating corruption and strange happenings. Jef has written for Houston Press, Free Press Houston, and Houston Chronicle.


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