Dannenfelser: Abortion-Centered “War on Women” Strategy is Dead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 5, 2014
Contact: Mallory Quigley, mquigley@sba-list.org, 703-380-6674

America has had enough with “Straitjacket Feminism”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Below are prepared remarks for delivery at the National Press Club this afternoon by Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List & Women Speak Out PAC.  

The bottom has fallen out of the abortion-centered ‘war on women’ strategy. Why is that?  Women just don’t agree with the shrinking ranks of the feminist left like EMILY’s List and NARAL that unlimited abortion is the great liberator for women. And they are tired of the politics of division and grievance.

Consider this:  EMILY’s List endorsed women chose to remain silent on the issue of abortion.  Why? EMILY’s List and their best campaign strategists told them to button it up on abortion.  Kay Hagan, Michele Nunn, and Alison Grimes, all devoted to unlimited abortion as a fundamental right, chose to focus upon other issues.  Clarity on abortion for them was the enemy.  But as we have always said, hiding from this issue is impossible.  Our candidates stood strong while these three women were resoundingly defeated.  Today our more than 200 Women Speak Out PAC activists in Louisiana will carry on their job and work to defeat Mary Landrieu.  Her attempts to gain a pro-life label while voting pro-abortion have helped her in her downward slope.  We believe Bill Cassidy and our ground game will help her out the door.

To the extent that abortion was used as an issue by pro-abortion candidates, those candidates suffered a backlash.  Consider Wendy Davis in Texas, Mark Udall in Colorado and Bruce Braley in Iowa.  Wendy Davis ran from a platform of late term unrestricted abortion.  In Colorado even the Denver Post nicknamed Mark Udall ‘Mark Uterus’ for his over the top attack ads.

Meanwhile, our candidates stood firm as their opponents attempted to avoid backlash.  Joni Ernst – a pro-life mother, military veteran and longtime public servant – refused to back down from her pro-life record even in the face of outrageous attacks from Braley and the NARAL. When asked to clarify his position, Braley directly lied to debate moderators about his position on late term abortion.  Well, that’s one way of handling it.  Another is run away from it.  Greg Orman running against Senator Pat Roberts in Kansas literally ran away from a voter who attempted to ascertain his position on late term abortion.

Men and women voters alike responded positively to the pro-life candidates who stood firm on principle.  They were supported by the SBA List’s Women Speak Out PAC and our aggressive offense. To counterstrike this war on woman, we exposed pro-abortion incumbents’ radical position on abortion and turned out low propensity voters through an unprecedented ground game in key states. We had more than 700 pro-life activists make more than 900,000 voter contacts in Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Kansas. That includes more than 460,000 doors knocked. We talked to voters about ending late term abortion and addressing taxpayer funding of abortion in Obamacare.

Now we have a Senate that is more human when it comes to women’s politics.  It is reflective of the women of America, not a minority, moneyed power elite who too often cast men and children as obstacles to success.   We are encouraged with the new pro-life Senate and look forward to a vote on our top legislative priority, the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This compassionate, popular legislation will protect the lives of more than 18,000 unborn children per year.  It is supported by a majority of Democrats, young people and women.

In attacking Joni Ernst last week Hillary Clinton said ‘it’s not enough to be a woman. You have to be committed to expand rights and opportunities for all women.’ The abortion centered war on women strategy is dead because of this strait-jacket feminism.  The one that says, ‘you are a real woman if you agree with my ideology.’ America has had enough of it and has communicated that clearly.


The Susan B. Anthony List and its Political Action Committees, the SBA List Candidate Fund and Women Speak Out PAC, spent $15.25 million in the 2014 election cycle to defeat pro-abortion incumbents and elect pro-life candidates to federal and statewide office. The SBA List is dedicated to pursuing policies and electing candidates who will reduce and ultimately end abortion. To that end, the SBA List emphasizes the education, promotion, mobilization, and election of pro-life women.  The SBA List is a network of more than 365,000 pro-life Americans nationwide.

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