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Thursday, January 5, 2023

OPINION:

Every pro-life governor who ran for reelection in November won by large margins. Instead of running from the issue, they provided leadership on the issue of life — and went on to victory.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill into law at the end of 2021 that imposes criminal penalties on doctors who fail to give medical care when a baby is born alive after an attempted abortion. In November, Mr. DeWine won reelection with 62.8% of the vote — receiving more than 2.5 million votes.


Interestingly, newly sworn-in Sen. J.D. Vance largely owes his election to Mr. DeWine’s coattails. Mr. Vance received 2,147,898 votes, or 53.3%. Clearly, Mr. DeWine’s signing of strong anti-abortion legislation did not hurt him with Ohio residents, as his results outperformed Mr. Vance’s by more than 380,000 votes.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a series of pro-life bills into law in her first term. In November, she received 62% of the vote. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis received 59.4% of the vote in Florida this past November in his bid for reelection. In April, he signed into law a 15-week abortion ban.

At the public bill signing, Mr. DeSantis said: “We’re here today to defend those who can’t defend themselves. Fifteen weeks is a time where these babies have beating hearts. They can move. They can taste. They can see. They can feel pain. They can suck. And they have brain waves.”

In Iowa, the Legislature passed and Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a law a year after taking office that bans abortion at six weeks after conception — when the heartbeat of an unborn baby can first be detected by medical professionals. A judge enjoined the law. In August, Ms. Reynolds filed a motion asking the district court to lift the injunction of Iowa’s fetal heartbeat bill.

Ms. Reynolds received 58.1% of the vote in November — with 709,160 ballots cast for her. The iconic Sen. Chuck Grassley received 681,487 votes.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu defended the 24-week abortion ban he signed last year. He told a national podcast: “Well, look, I’m the first governor in 40 years to sign an abortion ban. Republican governors before me never signed that. I’ve done more on the pro-life issue, if you will, than anyone. And I believe, as most Americans do, that there should be a ban on abortions in months seven, eight and nine. We got that done.”

In November, Mr. Sununu received 352,109 votes, or 57.1%, of all those cast in his race. In contrast, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate got only 275,307 votes, which was 44.4% of the total in that race.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law the nation’s strictest abortion ban in May. The law prohibits all abortions with few exceptions. Since then, Democrats claimed that Mr. Stitt would lose his bid for reelection based on the abortion issue. In November, he received 55.5% of the vote versus 41.8% for his opponent.

At a bill signing in May 2021, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, “The life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.” The new law bans abortion after cardiac activity can be found in an unborn baby — as early as six weeks. 

In November, Mr. Abbott received 54.8% of the vote to win a third term. His opponent, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, set fundraising records in his campaign yet received only 43.8% of the vote.

Soon after taking office, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that makes it illegal to receive an abortion once a heartbeat is detected in the womb, which happens around six weeks.

At the signing, Mr. Kemp said: “As you all know, Georgia is a state that values life. We protect the innocent. We champion the vulnerable. We stand up and speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves.”

His Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, tried to make abortion a major issue in the campaign that broke spending records. Instead, Mr. Kemp received 53.4% of the vote as 2,110,328 ballots were cast for his reelection.

In the Senate runoff in Georgia, Sen. Raphael Warnock won with 51.4% of the vote, and 1,816,096 ballots were cast for him. Republican candidate Herschel Walker received 48.6% of the vote, or 1,719,483 ballots. Mr. Kemp clearly outpaced his opponent and both of the candidates for the Senate.

The lesson here is simple: Voters want leaders. Pro-life governors overwhelmingly found ways to stop late-term abortions. This is a reasonable position for most Americans. They have shown you can be pro-life and win.

• Scott Walker is president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.


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