Sponsor Tim Lambert, a Republican National Committee member from Texas, tried to compare the issue to the party's refusal to support ex-Klan member David Duke. "Is the party obligated to support a nominee of the party regardless of their position?" Lambert said in an interview. "If we go back to the race issue I don't think we'd be having this discussion."
But though the issue is held dear by a few Republicans in Congress, late-term partial-birth abortions are in practice very rare and usually performed for the mother's safety. In political terms, supporting a ban has never won an election for the GOP. But it could lose them for the party's social moderates. New Jersey governor Christie Todd Whitman, who vetoed a ban, would not be governor without RNC funding. Elbow enough Whitmans out of the tent, and the GOP will be kissing off the soccer moms for good.