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Conservatives divided on anti-abortion rights strategy

A sign advocating against abortion rights sits below an Ohio Yes on Issue 1 sign.
Patrick Orsagos
Ohio Right to Life members on the steps of the Statehouse in 2019.

Abortion rights will be on the ballot in November and conservatives can't agree on whether a compromise should be on the table. On this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, host Mike Thompson talks to Republican strategist Terry Casey about a rift in the GOP.

Post Roe

Conservatives cheered when the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade last summer, leaving it up to politicians and voters to decide when life begins and when abortion should be banned, allowed, or regulated.

However, that decision has created a problem for conservatives. Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in most cases. Even in conservative states, voters have supported abortion rights.

This has caused a division between pragmatic Republicans and more strident Republicans. The strident Republicans do not want to give an inch. They won a major victory with the Dobbs decision, and they want to ban abortion altogether. The pragmatic Republicans see the writing on the wall and are willing to compromise.

This rift was on display this week when Ohio Right to Life parted ways with its spokeswoman Lizzie Marbach. Marbach is a strident anti-abortion activist who has called abortion supporters "murderous liars" and said they should not be allowed to work in the medical profession.

Ohio Right to Life said it moved Marbach out of her role as communications director because of concerns about her "tone and tenor."

Snollygoster of the week

U.S. Senate candidate Matt Dolan, who chairs the Ohio Senate Finance Committee, lost the 2022 Republican primary to J.D. Vance. Dolan is wealthy and he used a lot of his own money to fund his campaign.

He recently filed financial disclosures showing that he took out a line of credit of up to $25 million to help with his campaign costs. The interest rate on the loan was 0.8%. That was a good rate, as mortgages were around 3% at the time and credit card and personal loans were much higher.

It is not clear why a man worth up to $41 million would borrow money for his campaign, but there are probably tax advantages.

The loan has raised questions about whether the low rate given to Dolan by Morgan Stanley amounted to an illegal campaign contribution.

If you have a suggestion for our "Snollygoster of the Week" award, a question or a comment, send them to snollygoster@wosu.org.