As Republican candidates move out of primary season and into the general election fray, some of the party's nominees are modifying their positions on abortion, according to CNN.
The change in tone comes two months after the Supreme Court reversed the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, in a decision that has sparked intense debate across the political spectrum.
Following the ruling, a majority of Kansas voters decided to retain abortion protections in their state constitution and an upstate Democrat New York House candidate won a special election in a competitive district a few weeks later by making abortion a central issue of his campaign.
Those developments have Republicans across the country rethinking their strategies, as those in competitive races who have taken hardline positions against abortion work to moderate them ahead of November's midterms.
According to CNN, Arizona GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters recently released a campaign video articulating his softer stance on abortion and removed references to his support of a "federal personhood law" from his website.
The Grand Canyon State Senate hopeful previously said on his website that he was "100% pro-life" and advertised his support for a constitutional amendment that "recognizes unborn babies are human beings that may not be killed."
House GOP candidate Tom Barrett, of Michigan, described himself as "100% pro-life — no exceptions" in the "values" section of his campaign website.
"Protecting individual rights includes protecting the unborn," the website reportedly read.
Barrett added that he and his wife had "been involved in the pro-life movement our entire lives" and vowed to "always work to protect life from conception" as an elected leader.
After the Kansas results, the values section was removed from the campaign site, according to CNN.
"We regularly update the website," a Barrett spokesperson told the news outlet.
In addition to staying the course, pro-life groups are looking for their candidates to take the fight over abortion to their Democrat opponents.
"Our position hasn't changed and how we are advising candidates after Kansas remains the same and that is, You have to go on offense and define your opponent's positions rather than let them define you," Mallory Carroll, spokeswoman for Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America told CNN. "The best defense is a good offense."
When asked why she thinks some Republican candidates are diluting their positions on abortion, Carroll said other GOP operatives were to blame.
"There are always going to be a class of political consultant that are not true believers on this issue, that advise candidates not to go on offense, to cross their fingers and hope that this issue doesn't come up," she said. "That is not only morally wrong, it is politically stupid."
Pivoting towards a more middle-of-the-road electorate can be difficult on an issue like abortion because of how deeply entrenched attitudes are on it and how visible it has been since the Supreme Court handed down its decision.
"It's not unusual for candidates to pivot more toward the center from a primary to a general election strategy," John Thomas, a national Republican strategist told CNN. "The second you win that primary, you have to change the electorate that you're speaking to, which is more of those classic swing voters."
"The challenge is on some of these very hot issues ... the other campaign keeps receipts," he added.
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