New York Times 24 July 2014
It was not on the public schedule for the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting at the stately Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. But inside a conference room, a group of conservative women held a boot camp to strengthen an unlikely set of skills: how to talk about abortion.
They have conducted a half-dozen of these sessions around the country this year, from Richmond, Va., to Madison, Wis. Coaches point video cameras at the participants and ask them to talk about why they believe abortion is wrong.
They review the video, and critiques are rendered. “Rape is a four-letter word,” one of the consultants often advises. “Purge it from your lexicon.”
Another tip: Keep remarks as short as possible. “Two sentences is really the goal,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, the anti-abortion group that hosts the boot camps. “Then stop talking.”
Social issues have taken on added urgency since the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case last month, which held that family-run corporations could not be required to pay for insurance coverage for contraception. While Democrats hope the decision will help them draw Republicans back into an uncomfortable debate over women’s rights, many conservatives relish the fight and welcome putting abortion at the center of the midterm elections.