The House GOP’s unexpected retreat from its original bill is emboldening abortion rights activists to force the issue in 2016, forcing opponents of abortion on the offense.

Republican lawmakers responsible for delaying a controversial abortion bill are on notice from conservative activists in 2016.

“I believe in political retribution, otherwise you might as well close up shop,” Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser told The Hill.

Anti-abortion advocates say electoral challenges could be in the cards for those who worked to stall a 20-week abortion ban bill that was widely expected to pass the House on Thursday. Amid concerns with the language on rape exceptions, however, the bill was abruptly pulled from consideration late Wednesday.

“I think that there probably will be [primary challenges],” added Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a religious political group in Washington. “I think there will be some consequences for this.”

The House had spent weeks coordinating its vote on a late-term abortion bill on Thursday to coincide with the national March for Life rally as well as the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The bill, with more than 100 cosponsors, was expected to easily clear the chamber.

At issue was a provision granting the victims of rape an exception from the ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy only if the rape was reported to police. The Justice Department estimates that nearly 70 percent of rapes go unreported, often due to victims’ fear of retribution.

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