Rep. Renee Ellmers Calls Pro-Lifers ‘Abhorrent’ and ‘Childish’

J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC) seems to be digging herself in deeper with the pro-life base of the GOP. On Friday, Ellmers—who led a group of House Republicans in January in a maneuver that torpedoed a late-term abortion ban on the eve of the March for Life—took to her blog to defend herself as she also referred to pro-life groups as “abhorrent” and “childish.”

In a blog post written over a week since the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was pulled from the House floor, Ellmers—who voted for the same bill two years ago when it passed the House—blamed Republican leadership for not addressing her concerns about “the language of mandatory reporting of rape to law enforcement” in the bill prior to pulling the measure from a vote.

After slamming House leadership, Ellmers moved next to the pro-life base of the Republican Party.

“Additionally, I am appalled by the abhorrent and childish behaviors from some of the leaders of the outside groups,” she said.

“As a mother, a wife, and a devout Catholic, protecting life is a mission that is very near and dear to my heart,” Ellmers defended herself in her post titled “Pro-Life and Compassionate,” in which she also implied that the Pain-Capable bill may not be compassionate unless the language of the bill is altered.

“It is my ultimate hope that we strengthen the pro-life community and that we do so through the embodiment of compassion – we need to personify compassion and use it to empower women who find themselves in the midst of a heart-wrenching crisis,” she wrote. “The God I serve has reinforced the need for compassion from one human to another in all circumstances – and I believe compassion is the only way to change hearts.”

However, the week before half a million members of the pro-life base descended upon Washington, D.C., to celebrate both the March for Life—and what they thought would be the House passage of the Pain-Capable bill—Ellmers let the National Journal know in an interview that it was politics and votes—and not unborn babies and their mothers—that she was really concerned about.

“I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week.… We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward,” Ellmers said. “The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials—social issues just aren’t as important [to them].”

The conservative base of the GOP has called for Ellmers to be subjected to a strong primary challenge next year.

Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins tweeted out her response to Ellmers:

At National Review Online, Joel Gehrke reported that while Ellmers said she had not known the Pain-Capable bill contained the rape notification provision when she voted in favor of it in 2013, one of her staffers admitted she had indeed known and “accused pro-life activists of putting Republicans in a difficult political position.”

“It’s rare that a pro-life Republican risks antagonizing her base with such comments, though less surprising in Ellmers’s case given that her staff accused pro-life groups of ‘playing politics’ with the pain-capable bill,” Gehrke also wrote.


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