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Democrats must change the abortion message & streamline the narrative

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  • Democrat
    Birmingham, AL
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    I'm a 70-year old graduate engineer and executive, still working, and a progressive Democrat from the very red state of Alabama. I was actively engaged in the 2017 Doug Jones campaign and Dec.12 special election for US Senate, which many considered to be an impossible undertaking. The evening of that election was a time of joy and sense of accomplishment, with celebration for those of us who participated.

    However, my joy was dampened that evening, as a 20-year old college student, whom I’ve known his whole life, challenged my support of Jones by saying, "I don't like him because he's for abortion." I realized that was the litmus test qualification for him, and nothing else mattered. So, I responded by saying "Nobody is 'for' abortion. Nobody gets up in the morning and says, 'In a few years, I want to have an abortion.' As a society, we should always offer women that legal option, and certainly not make it illegal."

    So, we talked, and I shared my experiences back in the late 60's, before Roe v. Wade. After our conversation, he changed his position, and here's how the conversation went:

    • I told him about my college experiences during the late 60's and before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was illegal.
    • There was general knowledge on campus, if a girl wanted an abortion, she could find it, on the black market.
    • Over the course of my 5-year college tenure, I had two college friends whose girlfriends became pregnant.
    • The two couples decided they were not ready for parenthood.
    • They went to the black market network and had phone interviews with shady MD's or outright quacks.
    • The day of the procedure was a horrifying experience for these two girls, as they checked into a low-rent motel and waited for the "doc" to knock on the door with his tools.
    • Fortunately, neither girl had complications, but I cannot imagine being in their shoes back then.
    • Finally, the young man had an "ah ha!" moment and said, "So, this is like the failure of Prohibition!"
    • He changed his mind and his opinion on abortion, and most importantly, on our Democratic senator.

    This is an example of how the abortion position and message must change for the Democrats, i.e. we are not "for" abortion. We discourage abortion, but we do NOT want to make it illegal and create another pre-Roe v. Wade black market.

    For many people, especially in the South and evangelicals nationwide, abortion is the one and ONLY issue. For them, it is binary, pass or fail, and everything else is noise and does not matter. So, to be successful in the South, and with evangelicals nationwide, Democrats must change the abortion message and streamline the narrative.

  • Independent
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    BhamJTS Wrote:

    I'm a 70-year old graduate engineer and executive, still working, and a progressive Democrat from the very red state of Alabama. I was actively engaged in the 2017 Doug Jones campaign and Dec.12 special election for US Senate, which many considered to be an impossible undertaking. The evening of that election was a time of joy and sense of accomplishment, with celebration for those of us who participated.

    However, my joy was dampened that evening, as a 20-year old college student, whom I’ve known his whole life, challenged my support of Jones by saying, "I don't like him because he's for abortion." I realized that was the litmus test qualification for him, and nothing else mattered. So, I responded by saying "Nobody is 'for' abortion. Nobody gets up in the morning and says, 'In a few years, I want to have an abortion.' As a society, we should always offer women that legal option, and certainly not make it illegal."

    So, we talked, and I shared my experiences back in the late 60's, before Roe v. Wade. After our conversation, he changed his position, and here's how the conversation went:

    • I told him about my college experiences during the late 60's and before Roe v. Wade, when abortion was illegal.
    • There was general knowledge on campus, if a girl wanted an abortion, she could find it, on the black market.
    • Over the course of my 5-year college tenure, I had two college friends whose girlfriends became pregnant.
    • The two couples decided they were not ready for parenthood.
    • They went to the black market network and had phone interviews with shady MD's or outright quacks.
    • The day of the procedure was a horrifying experience for these two girls, as they checked into a low-rent motel and waited for the "doc" to knock on the door with his tools.
    • Fortunately, neither girl had complications, but I cannot imagine being in their shoes back then.
    • Finally, the young man had an "ah ha!" moment and said, "So, this is like the failure of Prohibition!"
    • He changed his mind and his opinion on abortion, and most importantly, on our Democratic senator.

    This is an example of how the abortion position and message must change for the Democrats, i.e. we are not "for" abortion. We discourage abortion, but we do NOT want to make it illegal and create another pre-Roe v. Wade black market.

    For many people, especially in the South and evangelicals nationwide, abortion is the one and ONLY issue. For them, it is binary, pass or fail, and everything else is noise and does not matter. So, to be successful in the South, and with evangelicals nationwide, Democrats must change the abortion message and streamline the narrative.

    Well put!

    Just by way of comment I would add that criminalizing abortion merely means that the poor and desperate will be relegated to the situation you described. The wealthy will always be able to get safe abortions.

  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    I think it’s safe to say the Democrats drop the ball on just about every important subject. They seem to believe that everyone processes info the way they do and thus write off the "deplorables" as not being interested in understanding the truth so they simply move on.

    These people have concerns, which any thinking person knows are false, but Democrats never seem able to show them or teach them why. Of corse, much of thought is hard wired in the brain but the Republicans never drop the ball and are reinforcing their false narrative daily while everyone else just throws up their hands and calls them hopeless.

    They are hopeless when you don’t "feed" them reality and if you have to hit them over and over with it - so be it. The republicans didn’t gain total control of politics overnight, they earned it by hard work (and lies) feeding their red meat to their rabid base.

    Only yesterday I read (somewhere) that the real reason Trumpy wine the election was older white voters fear of becoming the minority and they know what happens to minorities in this country. They voted for Trumpy out of fear of becoming the people they actually fear the most. I can believe this 100%. I shows why unworldly, undereducated, low information voters in this country constantly vote against their own best interests.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Yes, absolutely, abortion is THE political issue for Evangelicals. They will condone and excuse all kinds of sexual harassment behavior and abuse against women, but they draw the "line in the sand" when it comes to abortion. But as BhamJTS discussed, the conversation on abortion can be made personal. For one thing, the term "abortion" for some can mean anything from the morning after pill to a late term abortion for the health of the mother. Most people, however, regard it as a medical procedure by a qualified doctor.

    Abortion statistics

    The abortion opponents control the messaging by exaggeration and lies (e.g. selling baby parts). Furthermore, only 1.3 percent of abortions occur beyond the first trimester or 21 weeks gestation.

    On January 22, 1973, by a 7-to-2 majority vote, the Supreme Court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution as a guarantee of the "right to personal privacy". Prior to the time, as BhamJTS pointed out, the back alley abortions took their toll on women's lives, especially young women.

    Republicans since 1973 have opposed abortion in all forms making it a political issue . The reason is simple: the religious right is a substantial demographic inside the Republican Party. By religious right I include not only evangelicals, but also Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, the Assembly of God Pentecostals and others whose faith doesn't condone abortions. In other words, the Republican Party has been largely become a theocracy on this one issue.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    P.R. well said; yes there is no Democratic message which makes people enthousiastic. Especially Perez does not look to me as an "leader" which motivates. Getting back to the subject of "abortion"; yes this country is caught up in religious nonsense; their brains are polluted and indoctrinated by these stupid ignorant lying churches. This is the only country in the world where masses of "deformed" poor little kids try to live, who don't have a chance in life and die young with lots of pain and hate for life. Furthermore plenty unwanted kids may end up in orphan dwellings or be beat up. But yeah the church does not care as long as the priest can buy a tax free private jet or yacht then everything is rosy. On top of that the church forbids birth control pills; where is such nonsense stated in their nutty human written "bible"? Sorry all of the "evangelical" Trump supporters should have a brain transplant; human life means nothing in this huge universe and is recycled over and over again through the centuries. Amen

    The only reason for anti-abortion preaching is that in the old days especially the Catholic Church needed lots of "souls" to built and pay for their cathedrals as well expand their income base; just like the Republicans are doing. These cathedrals are not plastered with "gold" for nothing.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    For the record the Catholic Chuurch views abortion and birth control as the same type of serious sin. Ill bet the evangelicals standing shoulder to shoulder with priests at abortion protest don't know the priests views them the same as getting an abortion if they use birth control. That applies to the rhythm as well as any other method that jeopardizes a sperm from hitting a home run.
  • Independent
    Washington
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    Basic facts about pro choice women

    • Nearly all use some form of birth control, thus don't get pregnant unless they want to
    • Most who have unexpected pregnancies, decide to have the baby.
    • Most abortions are because of health reasons (risk of life).
    • Nearly all consider abortion their last option and least favorite option.
    • Nearly all abortions occur quickly after finding out they are pregnant, not waiting months to decide. The longer they wait, the more likely will decide to have the baby or give it up for adoption.
    • It is not used as a form of birth control
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Kenosha, WI
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    wwjd Wrote:

    Basic facts about pro choice women

    • Nearly all use some form of birth control, thus don't get pregnant unless they want to
    • Most who have unexpected pregnancies, decide to have the baby.
    • Most abortions are because of health reasons (risk of life).
    • Nearly all consider abortion their last option and least favorite option.
    • Nearly all abortions occur quickly after finding out they are pregnant, not waiting months to decide. The longer they wait, the more likely will decide to have the baby or give it up for adoption.
    • It is not used as a form of birth control
    Wait. What? are you sure about all that? If some or all use a pill, then doesn't that make them hypocrites?
  • Independent
    Washington
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    Dockadams Wrote:
    wwjd Wrote:

    Basic facts about pro choice women

    • Nearly all use some form of birth control, thus don't get pregnant unless they want to
    • Most who have unexpected pregnancies, decide to have the baby.
    • Most abortions are because of health reasons (risk of life).
    • Nearly all consider abortion their last option and least favorite option.
    • Nearly all abortions occur quickly after finding out they are pregnant, not waiting months to decide. The longer they wait, the more likely will decide to have the baby or give it up for adoption.
    • Abortion is not used as a form of birth control
    Wait. What? are you sure about all that? If some or all use a pill, then doesn't that make them hypocrites?

    Docadams, not following your logic. How does using birth control make pro-choice women hypocrites?

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Kenosha, WI
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    wwjd Wrote:
    Dockadams Wrote:
    wwjd Wrote:

    Basic facts about pro choice women

    • Nearly all use some form of birth control, thus don't get pregnant unless they want to
    • Most who have unexpected pregnancies, decide to have the baby.
    • Most abortions are because of health reasons (risk of life).
    • Nearly all consider abortion their last option and least favorite option.
    • Nearly all abortions occur quickly after finding out they are pregnant, not waiting months to decide. The longer they wait, the more likely will decide to have the baby or give it up for adoption.
    • Abortion is not used as a form of birth control
    Wait. What? are you sure about all that? If some or all use a pill, then doesn't that make them hypocrites?

    Docadams, not following your logic. How does using birth control make pro-choice women hypocrites?

    Oh, please excuse me, I thought it was the other, pro life, it was a long day yesterday.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    or said: "The republicans didn’t gain total control of politics overnight, they earned it by hard work (and lies) feeding their red meat to their rabid base."

    The Republicans focused on improvements for their constituents.

    Democrats acted like trustees of perpetual award funds.