The straw poll is conducted at the annual event, and measures attendees’ policy preferences as well as their preferred presidential candidate. CPAC, a project of the American Conservaive Union, describes itself as “the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world,” and the conference is often billed as representative of the wider conservative movement.
The American Conservative Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its attendees’ enthusiasm for the pro-life cause.
Several pro-life leaders cautioned that the pro-life cause may already be a high priority for many Republicans, and thus the poll is not necessarily indicative of future GOP priorities.
Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, told CNA in an interview that it’s possible CPAC attendees didn’t prioritize pro-life policies because they believe the Republican Party has already demonstrated its opposition to abortion.
“It’s obviously already something the party already fights really hard for,” Day said.
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told CNA that abortion “was not always the partisan issue it is today and that better reflected the American people who may disagree on politics while embracing the humanity of the preborn.”
“The rankings at CPAC show that abortion is among the issues animating people's votes, even when it isn't issue number one for everyone as it is for me and the Pro-Life Generation,” Hawkins said.
“We are educating people on the need to vote pro-life first, and we will continue to work with people wherever they are at, to build a coalition dedicated to ending abortion,” she said.
In an email to CNA, Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for the Susan B. Anthony List, wrote that election integrity--the highest-rated issue at CPAC in terms of importance--and the pro-life cause are both connected.
“Those who used COVID-19 to expand access to dangerous chemical abortion drugs and try to suspend pro-life laws also used the pandemic as an excuse to weaken state laws that ensure free and fair elections, which severely compromised Americans’ faith in our elections process,” Quigley said.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Quigley called this year’s CPAC straw poll “a snapshot of a particular moment in time – a time when voters are sincerely concerned about the integrity of our nation’s elections.”
“We share deeply in this concern,” she continued. “The issues of protecting life and honest, fair elections are inextricably linked, especially for those of us in the pro-life movement who have chosen to engage in politics as the primary means of effecting change. Without this, we lose our ability to use the political system to bring about lifesaving law and policy changes.”
Day added that because pro-life policies are “a winning issue,” both parties would be wise to oppose “abortion extremisim.”
“It’s very dangerous for Democrats to have abortion funding in the COVID relief bill and giving Republicans this ammunition,” she said.
A massive COVID relief package under consideration by the Senate this week does not contain pro-life funding protections--thus possibly allowing for increased funding of abortion coverage and abortion providers. House Democrats rejected pro-life amendments to the bill that would have established safeguards against abortion funding.
“Republicans know it’s a winning issue. Abortion extremisim is not helping the Democrats at all,” Day said of pro-life issues.