Evangelical Leader: GOP Candidates Should Take a ‘Testosterone Shot’ to Fight Harder for Abortion Bans

“Those who are afraid" of pushing for a national abortion ban "need to, candidly, grow a backbone," Ralph Reed said of Republican presidential candidates.

Evangelical Leader: GOP Candidates Should Take a ‘Testosterone Shot’ to Fight Harder for Abortion Bans
Ralph Reed, the founder and chair of the Faith & Freedom Coalition. Photo:Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

This weekend marks one year without Roe v. Wade, and I’m reminded that in addition to being exceedingly cruel, the people responsible for this great loss of our most fundamental rights are also exceedingly fucking lame. At the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual conference on Friday, a host of prominent anti-abortion leaders gathered to pressure Republican presidential candidates to take harder stances on abortion (despite the deep unpopularity of this across the country). And the founder and chair of the coalition, Ralph Reed, offered some particularly choice words intimating that Republican leaders who fall short of meeting the group’s abortion extremism are a bunch of sissies.

Reed, who called the conference’s alignment with the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision “serendipitous,” declared that anti-abortion leaders should give Republican presidential candidates “a testosterone booster shot” to find the courage to lose their elections and go on the offensive, rather than “the defensive,” on the issue.

“We’re certainly going to do everything that we can, as an organization and as a pro-life and pro-family movement, to give our candidates a little bit of a testosterone booster shot and explain to them that they should not be on the defensive,” Reed told the Associated Press. “Those who are afraid of it need to, candidly, grow a backbone.”

I have to pause, briefly, to laugh at the imagery of this. I’m picturing Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis—the two dweebs currently groveling for the right-wing manosphere’s support in their race for the Republican nomination—loading up on testosterone via booster shots in the pharmacy corner of CVS, just to find the ~courage~ to advocate for a sweeping national abortion ban. Metaphors and symbolism aside, wouldn’t such a “testosterone booster shot” amount to gender-affirming care, a health service that most of the Republican field has spent the last several months passionately railing against?

Reed further explained at the conference that despite how some “accuse” his group “of being a part of a cult of personality of [former President Trump],” the group only worships “Jesus Christ of Nazareth” and is willing to push all Republican candidates on abortion. Their strategy, he insisted, is to “shift the focus and shift the language” around abortion to “frame the narrative not around stages of gestation … but talking about the unborn child”—in other words, to fight for a total abortion ban, full stop.

Former Vice President and current Republican presidential candidate Mike Pence sounds closest to the vision that Reed and his Faith & Freedom Coalition hold. Pence earlier this year boldly called for Republicans to not stop fighting for a total national abortion ban no matter the electoral cost. Yet, at Pence’s last appearance at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s conference in 2021, he was booed and called a “traitor” by the decisively pro-Trump crowd. Interesting!

Unlike Pence, however, the rest of the Republican presidential field has been floundering on abortion, to the extent that I can almost, almost see where Reed is coming from in his calls for them to receive a collective “testosterone booster shot.” They’re all well aware of how unpopular their party’s abortion stances are, and that comes through when they talk (and don’t talk) about it.

Trump has repeatedly gone after DeSantis for his six-week ban in Florida ostensibly being too extreme (as if there’s such thing as a not-extreme abortion ban), all while very proudly taking credit for the demise of Roe and impossibly claiming he could work out an abortion compromise that “everyone is going to be very satisfied” with. DeSantis noticeably avoids talking about abortion. Nikki Haley has attempted to frame herself as the voice of reason on the issue, boldly pledging to not sentence those who have abortions to the death penalty—while also insisting she’d hypothetically support a national abortion ban, but this will sadly never get the votes in Congress. And Tim Scott—proud virgin until 46 years of age—talked in circles when asked about a national abortion ban in April, ultimately concluding that abortion is bad for the workforce (it’s not.)

I have to wonder how a good old-fashioned “testosterone booster shot” might change some of these stances.

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