In another sign of the political havoc the Dobbs decision continues to wreak on the Republican party, protesters upset over Donald Trump’s stance on abortion gathered outside the former president’s rally in South Florida on Wednesday.
They weren’t pro-choice, though — they were anti-abortion activists upset that Trump, the one person most directly responsible for the end of Roe v. Wade, is in their view, caving on abortion.
In recent months, Trump has privately bemoaned the fact that the GOP is “getting killed on abortion” — even as he seeks to shore up support from the anti-abortion groups and religious figures who helped secure his victory in 2016.
A dozen members of the anti-abortion political action group Students for Life, which endorsed Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, gathered outside the president’s rally in Hialeah on Wednesday holding signs that read “Make Trump Pro-Life Again.”
“We’re out here to send a message not only to Trump, but to the whole GOP party that we want our candidates to be unapologetically and fundamentally pro-life,” said Mary-Logan Miske, a campus organizer with Students for Life. Over the last year, Trump had failed that test, in her view. “He blamed pro-lifers for the loss of our midterms. He said that this issue, [abortion], isn’t a federal issue. And his latest thing was he basically said that DeSantis passing a Heartbeat Bill was a terrible, terrible thing.”
One day before Trump’s rally in South Florida, Republicans lost elections around the country — thanks largely to the party’s efforts to ban and restrict abortion. Students for Life president Kristan Hawkins blamed Republicans’ failure to win control of the Virginia General Assembly on the 15-week ban embraced by GOP candidates. Hawkins called that proposal “demoralizing to pro-life voters… It makes nobody happy. It certainly doesn’t make the pro-life grassroots happy because it allows 90 percent of abortions to continue.”
That sentiment was echoed by SBA Pro-Life America, a leading anti-abortion group that also backed Trump in ‘16 and ‘20. “The true lesson from last night’s loss is that Democrats are going to make abortion front and center throughout 2024 campaigns. The GOP consultant class needs to wake up,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA, said in a statement. “Candidates must put money and messaging toward countering the Democrats’ attacks or they will lose every time.”
Trump — who was indicted earlier this year for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election — explained away Republicans’ heavy losses on Tuesday with a familiar excuse, claiming in a radio interview that there were “improprieties” in the vote.