Kayleigh McEnany acknowledges abortion rights played part in midterms but says issue will ‘go away’

‘We’ve got to look at the long game: abortion’s going to go away’

Abe Asher
Friday 11 November 2022 00:20 GMT
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The former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in an appearance on Fox News on Thursday that Republicans’ poor performance in Tuesday’s midterm election was attributable in part to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade — but that the abortion issue will “go away” in the long run.

Roe v Wade, and overturning it, was profoundly more important than any short-term politics,” Ms McEnany, Donald Trump’s fourth press secretary, said. “The victory that happened over the summer was a victory for the rule of law, and it is far more enormous than any slight margin in the House could have been. So we’ve got to look at the long game: abortion’s going to go away.”

Fox News was left scrambling on Wednesday and Thursday to explain to viewers why the “red wave” or “red tusnami” they’d been promising in the weeks and months leading up to the election did not materialise.

Fox personalities and pundits have thus far blamed lacklustre candidate quality, single women, and young people for Republicans’ sub-standard performance, which may end up as one of the worst midterm showings the party out of the White House has made in some 80 years.

Ms McEnany said that abortion was a factor, and there is ample evidence to suggest that she is correct. Democrats over-performed in special elections throughout the summer following the Supreme Court’s decision, and voters on Tuesday night listed abortion as a top concern as they handed Democrats a series of victories in marquee races.

In the five states where abortion was on the ballot directly, voters opted to defend reproductive choice. Voters in Michigan, Vermont, and California all passed constitutional rights to reproductive autonomy, while voters in Kentucky and Montana rejected efforts to restrict access to abortion.

That is one of many reasons why observers cast doubt on Ms McEnany’s assertion that abortion will “go away,” either as a medical practice or a political issue, in the coming years — even if the Court’s decision was worth the electoral consequences for many conservatives.

Abortion remains legal in states throughout the country, while a strong majority of Americans support abortion rights and have demonstrated that support at the ballot box in the five states that voted on Tuesday night, as well in Kansas over the summer.

Some prominent Republicans, meanwhile, have floated passing a national abortion ban that would outlaw the abortion care across the country — a measure that would supercharge the issue moving forward. Even without that ban, the Supreme Court decision is a life-altering for millions of Americans and will be for the forseeable future.

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