Room For Consensus, or Not
That is, if social conservatives merely sought to have government funding for abortion cut—as this taxpayer funding effectively results in having the view and/or ideology of those who are pro-choice being imposed on those who are pro-life—they would stand on solid ground in the eyes of most libertarians, constitutional conservatives, independents, conservative Democrats, etc. And even if social conservatives only sought to overturn Roe v. Wade—the federal legislation legalizing abortion for the entire nation—many non-religionists would go along, as this is an issue that should technically be left for state legislatures to deal with according to America’s federalist constitutional tradition.
The problem is that, for many if not most pro-life types the real goal is to make abortion illegal in all 50 states using federal legislation, thereby imposing their religious values on others. The pro-life view is held because “life” is conceived to begin at conception, which would mean that those just conceived should be assigned the same constitutional rights as all others, making abortion the equivalent of murder. Meanwhile, most pro-choice types see life, and therefore individual rights, beginning at birth. Hence, being aware of the motivations of pro-lifers, many, including many conservative Democrat voters, who would be inclined to vote for a non-religiously motivated conservative will look elsewhere or perhaps stay home on voting day.
As the Democrat Party has managed to create enormous dependency on government programs, with around 48 percent of U.S. citizens receiving more from government than they contribute to government, their constituency has both grown and solidified. Hence, the Republican Party can ill afford to create divisions within the ranks of its current or potential supporters, as the social conservatives are likely to do.