Ahead of the Georgia runoff election, right-wing media and anti-abortion groups have resorted to fearmongering about a “radical” abortion future in the United States and attacking candidates’ personal pro-choice views. Right-wing media’s mischaracterization and extreme rhetoric about Democrats also intentionally distracts from the public favorability of legal abortion access.
On January 5, Georgia voters will determine the fate of their two Senate seats in runoff elections between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue and Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Kelly Loeffler. The race will also determine which party controls the Senate, with Democrats currently holding 48 seats and Republicans 50 seats (Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote in an evenly-split Senate vote).
As such, anti-abortion groups have moved their focus and spending to the runoff election, attempting to craft a narrative that the two Senate seats offer the last line of defense against the “radical” abortion-rights agenda Democrats want to install. Right-wing media have jumped on this narrative, especially by promoting attacks on Warnock, who is a Christian pastor, for supporting abortion rights.
As we saw in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary and the general election, right-wing media and anti-abortion groups' messaging is designed to paint Democrats as “extreme” and out of touch with public opinion on abortion. In reality, while polling on abortion is complicated, good polling consistently shows that Americans overwhelmingly support the continued legal access to abortion, and right-wing media’s extreme language on the issue is meant to hide that fact.
Here’s how anti-abortion groups and right-wing media are using their messaging in the Georgia runoff.
Fearmongering that the Senate will be radically pro-abortion if Democrats win both Georgia seats
- LifeNews.com’s Micaiah Bilger wrote about the runoff:
Pro-abortion Democrat leaders are not being shy about their plans to expand the killing of unborn babies in abortions and force taxpayers to fund their deaths.
They control the U.S. House and potentially soon the White House, should Joe Biden be confirmed the winner. The only thing stopping them is the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, and even that is at stake.
All eyes are on Georgia where both of its pro-life Republican senators are facing run-off elections in January.
- EWTN’s Pro-Life Weekly interviewed Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) about the importance of the Georgia runoff to the issue of abortion. Daines said, “We’ve got to get our pro-life voters out because really, at the end of the day, life is on the ballot in Georgia. We’ve got to win those two seats.”
- Secular Pro-Life:
- Students for Life Action:
- March for Life:
- In addition to spreading misinformation about abortion, LifeNews.com also inaccurately alleged that Democrats were temporarily moving to Georgia to cast votes in the runoff race:
Attacking Raphael Warnock, while often highlighting his personal beliefs, for supporting abortion rights
- Watson then went on Fox & Friends, where co-host Brian Kilmeade interviewed him and referenced his tweet that, according to Kilmeade, went “on the offensive against Georgia Senate Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock for his promise to fight for reproductive justice.” During the interview, Watson claimed, “We cannot simultaneously say that we are fighting for racial justice, social justice, all those sorts of things and forget about the most vulnerable people among us, which are the preborn.” Other right-wing media outlets promoted Watson’s tweet attacking Warnock.
- Breitbart’s Susan Berry:
In an interview with WGAU’s Tim Bryant in August, Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock said abortion is “consistent with” his philosophy as a Christian minister.
The Democrat megachurch pastor, who is attempting to unseat Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in the Georgia Senate runoff election in January, takes his talking points from abortion giant Planned Parenthood, which endorsed him in May.
Warnock does not support any restrictions on abortion, and said such a position fits in with his Christian world view because he has adopted the abortion industry narrative that abortion is health care.
- Radiance Foundation:
- Susan B. Anthony List:
- Susan B. Anthony List:
- Alliance Defending Freedom’s Denise Harle:
- National Review’s Alexandra DeSanctis: