Late Wednesday night, Republicans backed off plans to vote on a pro-life bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks. According to most sources, one of the leading proponents of dropping the bill was Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC).
In a closed door meeting, Ellmers was said to express concern about alienating women and Millennials. Later in an interview, she said she urged the GOP leadership to reconsider bringing the bill up today:
“We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward. The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that Millennials—social issues just aren’t as important [to them].”
You can add that to the list of things about which Ellmers is wrong. Millennials aren’t done with politics because they don’t care about social issues. They’re done because politicians don’t care.
Too many Republicans are pro-life except in cases of rape, incest or political expediency.
Here are the facts. Ellmers is right to be concerned about a gap between the GOP and Millennials. According to Pew Research, on many social issues younger voters disagree with the Republican Party.
But she’s wrong to think they don’t care and she’s especially wrong to think the way to reach out to Millennials is to double-cross pro-life voters by refusing to bring this bill for a vote.
Abortion is actually an area that Republicans can make inroads with Millennials, particularly on the bill Ellmers helped to scuttle. A majority of Americans, women and Millennials support “legislation that would ban virtually all abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape and incest that are reported to authorities.”
Just under 60% of 18-29 year olds (and women) support the very bill that Ellmers said would push them away from the GOP.
But it’s not just that. Pro-life Millennials are passionate about their positions.
Have you seen the annual March for Life? It’s regularly freezing, dreary, and dominated by young pro-lifers—who are the generation most likely to support a complete ban on abortion.
NARAL, a radical group in support of abortion, polled young Americans and found a gigantic intensity gap. “Most anti-abortion voters under 30 (51 percent) considered it a ‘very important’ voting issue. Among abortion-rights millennials, that number stood at 26 percent.”
Millennials are passionate about social issues, much more so than previous generations. But they have decided politics is not the best way to achieve their goals.
And seeing the way Republicans cave on significant issues like this only reinforces that view. Again, it’s not that Millennials are leaving politics because they don’t care about social issues. They are leaving because politicians continue to prove they are the ones who really don’t care.