Evangelicals insist abortion is top U.S. election issue

June 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM

WASHINGTON, June 16 (UPI) -- Delegates to a big conference of evangelical conservatives in Washington this weekend urged Republican lawmakers to push for new restrictions on abortion.

Various attendees at the Faith and Freedom Coalition told Politico the momentum was on the side of the anti-abortion movement, and the GOP would be making a big mistake if it modified its opposition.

"This is a time for the pro-life movement like we have not had in decades," said former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., who works for the activist group Susan B. Anthony List. "We must seize the moment."

The conference considered the recent murder conviction of abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell to be an opening to pushing for more restrictions on the procedure; however, at the same time, the Republican National Committee has concluded it needed to be more "inclusive and welcoming" on social issues if it wants to rebound from the 2012 presidential election.

Some conference attendees said abortion remained a top-tier issue that would bring evangelicals to the polls in next year's congressional elections. They also insisted a moderate stance on abortion was not good enough to win their vote.

"If they want to just run on economic issues, you're not going to get the church people," said Bob West of Tallahassee, Fla. "That's the bottom line."

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