Opinion: Republicans 'lured' one-issue voters with abortion outrage. What is next target?

·3 min read

Michael J. Morrissey is a retired attorney who lives in Westerville.

The “promise” of the Republican Party to pack the United States Supreme Court with conservative justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, thereby paving the way for the criminalization and virtual elimination of abortion, is no longer just a promise. It appears about to become fact.

Originally it was a trope, a lie in order to draw the votes of evangelical Christians and a good many Catholics. But it appears that the court is about to grant the party’s feigned wish.

More: Abortion still legal in Ohio – for now – as country waits for U.S. Supreme Court decision

Have we seen any truly prominent Republican political leaders appearing on television news shows to take credit or others racing across the country giving their most ardent supporters high-fives? No!

Instead, we see them claiming that the most important story is the leaking of the court’s draft decision purporting to overturning the 49-year-old decision. One wonders why?

I will tell you why. A huge number of Republicans do not want and have never wanted Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

They realize, just as most Democrats do that the abortion issue is too personal, too sensitive and too fraught with moral implications, to be left to the government to decide.

Michael J. Morrissey is a retired attorney who lives in Westerville.
Michael J. Morrissey is a retired attorney who lives in Westerville.

Many people realize that while they are “morally” opposed to abortion, they see no “legal” objections to it. Law and morality are not the same and while often congruent, are also often incongruent, deviating sharply from one another.

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Using the abortion issue to lure one-issue voters into voting Republican was indeed genius. How else does one get so many people to vote against their own interests on all the other issues so important to their lives? You blind them with a bright, shiny thing: the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

Did the Republican Party—and by this, I mean the Republican establishment—ever want this day to come? No, they did not. They care no more about abortion than they do guns. They only care that their constituents care.

If Roe v. Wade gets overruled, the party will then have only one socially divisive issue to exploit: guns. Guns, as a rule, do not bear moral outrage nearly as well and will likely not keep nearly as many of the socially conservative voters tied inexorably to the party as the abortion issue did lo these many years.

More: Letters: We are all pro-life. Republicans are in reverse gear.

What will the Republicans do now? The political value in the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade was in the perpetual fight to overturn it, not in actually overturning it. The value of the abortion wedge issue, so valuable in garnering votes, no matter where the party stood on other issues, is now gone.

What will they use to replace it? Who will be the next merciless target of Republican moral outrage? Homosexuals, transgender people, gay married couples, people who believe in science, people who love books, the so-called elites? We are about to find out … and may God help us all.

Michael J. Morrissey is a retired attorney who lives in Westerville.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Opinion: How will Republicans lure voters if abortion case thrown out