Are you sure you want to delete this post?
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.