What to Know in Washington: GOP Moderates Want to Win Back Women

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Centrists in the House Republican conference are trying to reshape their party’s agenda on abortion, arguing the GOP needs to appeal more to women.

These lawmakers are trying to ensure the Republican Party’s long-standing goal of restricting abortion access doesn’t interfere with other priorities, or turn into a losing message in the 2024 election cycle. They’ve successfully kept abortion ban bills off the House calendar for months, and garnered promises from leadership to bring forward legislation to address backlogs of rape kits and to bolster access to birth control.

“Before we do the next pro-life bill, which we’re capable of doing, we need to show we care about women,” Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) said, adding she’s started a bipartisan push on child care affordability. “We gotta do both and if we don’t, there’s a lot of members who aren’t coming back next year.”

Stefani Reynolds/ AFP via Getty Images
Republican Rep. Nancy Mace, shown at the Capitol on May 31, 2023, says her party needs “to show we care about women.”

They’re responding to larger trends on public sentiment roughly one year after the Supreme Court struck down the long-standing federal right to access abortion.

Abortion rights advocates, since the high court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, have turned back efforts in Kansas to change the state Constitution to declare there’s no right to an abortion, installed an ally on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court, and won a special election for a New York House seat on promises to defend access to reproductive care. Gallup, which has surveyed opinions on abortion rights for decades, found last month that a record-high 69% of Americans said abortion should generally be legal in the first three months of pregnancy.

Related: Democrats’ 2024 Plan Aims to Stoke Voter Angst Over Abortion

Mace and other centrists aren’t arguing the party walk away from abortion restrictions entirely, but rather seek to avoid total abortion bans or policies that step too far into personal privacy. Mace herself favors a ban on abortions that take place 15 to 20 weeks after conception, with exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

Republicans’ internal wrangling was on display as Democrats used the week leading up to the anniversary of Dobbs to highlight their bills protecting access to abortion, and blast Republicans’ plans to restrict it.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) said his colleagues will use the forthcoming two-week recess to hold events recalling the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and to accuse Republican members of Congress and presidential candidates of supporting efforts to codify a ban on abortion. Alex Ruoff and Zach C. Cohen highlight the GOP’s attempt to pivot around abortion politics.


  • The House is back at 9 a.m. to vote on nullifying Biden administration mortgage fee changes.
  • Senators are on recess until July 10.


  • At 11:45 a.m., President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet at the White House with leaders of American and Indian companies to discuss innovation, investment, and manufacturing.
  • At 4 p.m., the president, first lady, vice president, and second gentleman participate in a political event with reproductive rights groups at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.
  • Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a briefing at 1 p.m.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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