GOP lawmakers who helped stall a controversial late-term abortion bill are getting hit with a stiff backlash — including warnings about primary challenges.
"I believe in political retribution, otherwise you might as well close up shop," Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told The Hill
The GOP-backed legislation expected to be passed Thursday was suddenly pulled from consideration late Wednesday over concerns by some female Republican lawmakers about a provision mandating rape victims to report the crime before obtaining the procedure.
"I think that there probably will be [primary challenges]," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a religious political group in Washington, told The Hill.
"I think there will be some consequences for this."
South Carolina Republican strategist Luke Byars told The Hill conservatives in his early-voting presidential state have long memories.
"If you’re an active member of the evangelical community and frustrated and feel like things are not moving fast enough, you want to take it out on someone," he told The Hill. "I think House leadership is going to have to answer for that."
"You had an issue you could rally around and unite conservatives behind, and somehow now that gets twisted and turned into an issue that’s divisive going into the presidential primaries," he added. "I’d call that a screw-up."
According to The Hill, the House had spent weeks coordinating its vote on the 20-week abortion ban legislation with the national March for Life rally as well as the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
With more than 100 co-sponsors, it was figured to sail through the House.
But Republican moderates, led by North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers and Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski, warned the rape report requirement would jeopardize GOP support from women and young people, The Hill noted
Instead, a new bill was unveiled
banning taxpayer funding for abortion. It passed the House Thursday morning.
"It’s very messy," former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, who now works for SBA List, told The Hill.
"Those things really attract the attention of people who would like to see a primary challenge," she said, noting lawmakers like Ellmers who'd been "very public" about their views.
Ellmers took just 58 percent of the vote in her GOP primary in 2014, and on Thursday found protesters outside her office, The Hill reported.
"I don't know what is going through the minds of some of the Republican women that changed their positions on this," Perkins told The Hill. "I know they're hearing from constituents on this and they're going to hear from more."
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., told The Hill he's committed to working out the kinks and bringing the bill back.
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