President Trump’s announcement on abortion and the subsequent ruling from the Arizona Supreme Court has once again brought the issue front and center. The problem for the Republican party is that divisive messaging mishaps could cost the GOP big come November – and Democrats know that.

Republicans have failed with our messaging on the issue of abortion for years, and despite the attempts to shift course, we are still missing the mark. The GOP cannot continue to play defense on abortion. If we want to win, we must go on offense. 

As a suburban mother of three who also happens to be a Republican strategist, my message to the party is a dire warning that we must unite and address this issue head-on, and it must be in a way that truly speaks to women.

Not all women have had an abortion, and I would argue that most conservatives, including myself,  would personally choose life.  But the reality is, most of us have someone close to us who, at some point in their lives has made the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. Women think differently than men, and often cast their votes based on emotions – be it sympathy, guilt, empathy, or even fear. The GOP needs to learn to speak to this. 

Conservatives and likely the majority of Democrats do not celebrate the idea of terminating a pregnancy. Yet, the incessant confusion and debate on how to pass the purity test on reproductive rights combined with bad advice from those completely out of touch is a recipe for disaster when the issue lands on the campaign trail. 

Strategists can write talking points all day long on how to speak to conservative women, yet it is highly apparent that the election-changing demographic of suburban moms is left out of the debate time and time again. 

Whether those in the Republican party can agree on it or not, suburban moms (which often includes center-right Independents) are a key demographic and they are largely pro-choice. The polls and data will not show this since the issue is incredibly polarizing and personal. I have personal relationships with influential members of the media, lawmakers, and key conservative voices that lean towards choice, yet are shuttered into silence on the issue for fear of backlash. This unequivocally tells me that the party is failing to connect. 

We do not speak to these women, we make assumptions based on the vocal extremists on both sides, and what is most detrimental is not that these women go vote Democrat, but that they do not vote at all.

We must realize the tremendous importance of the suburban women vote – an electorate of mothers who think very much like me.

President Trump is absolutely correct in his position on this issue and while Republicans are facing criticism from both sides on any common-sense reformation of policy views, we must remember that America is a democracy and leaders are not elected to be dictators, but to support those that send them to office as representatives. 

Narratives are often created when a communications strategist tells a politician or group the top-performing stance on an issue, and how to articulate a winning argument on whatever the issue may be. This is then perpetuated to journalists that will highlight the issue which is then amplified by chosen surrogates. 

It is time to include suburban moms in this narrative and amplify what Republicans have failed to acknowledge: pro-choice women do not want to kill babies; they simply do not want to be told what to do by the government. The left understands this and uses it to manipulate women of all ages into a fight that most do not even care to battle. The implied suppression is a bigger issue than the problem itself – women want to retain the right to choose, even though most would choose life.

Instead of putting all of our effort into taking that choice away, let’s shift the focus to empowering suburban moms to raise their families and vote how they see fit. It’s time for Republicans to stop avoiding controversial issues and start playing offense that hits the mark. It’s time to stop attacking our own to appease special interests.  

Pro-life groups spend millions of dollars each election cycle and millions more lobbying the Hill to end abortion. We will never win this way. If we want to change the world, we need to put the focus back on loving our children. As we continue to raise our children through spiritual warfare, parents must understand that ultimately, the values that our children are raised with falls on us. 

We must stop narrowing the fight to policy, and start helping women feel empowered and supported to choose life. If we cannot grasp this concept as a party, we will never make progress on this issue and the radical left agenda will prevail. 

Controversial issues change the course of history. Abraham Lincoln did not run on ending slavery, but he won the hearts and minds of Americans to get it done. 

Conservatives can remain true to their convictions and still know when a battle strategy needs to shift. Tough battles are never easy, but the rewards are worth the fight. 

And saving American democracy for our children is always worth it. 

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