Voting rights and abortion. Abortion and voting rights. It is an article of faith that these issues disproportionately affect black women. It is stated as fact without the benefit of supporting evidence, but that is a moot point if black women believe the propaganda.
Advocates argue that the monolithically-Democratic voting bloc must turn out in November if a GOP takeover of Congress is to be avoided. By not focusing on abortion and voting rights, the argument goes, Democrats take the black woman vote for granted.
What these advocates want is greater attention to be given to state laws that limit abortion and other laws that impede voting, because these laws are of high importance to black women.
Why are these laws more important to black women than other voting blocs? Presumably, because they need more abortions than non-blacks and can’t navigate voting laws as well as non-blacks. How insulting is that?
But let’s listen to the advocates themselves.
“Democrats are constantly trying to get suburban white women voters, to the extent sometimes that black women say ‘we’re your core voters, the least you can do is spend some money in our neighborhood,’” said Marcela Howell, CEO and founder of the supposedly-nonpartisan In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.
Howell claims that Democrats “go after what they consider swing voters, and we’re not.”
THIS IS A MARCELA HOWELL STAN ACCOUNT. Thank you Marcela for being the dopest Elder a Woman could ever ask for. @BlackWomensRJ changed my life & the lives of so many others. Congratulations on receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for Reproductive Health, Rights & Justice. pic.twitter.com/DpMMsXV023
— Leslie Mac (@LeslieMac) October 1, 2022
She’s right about black women not being swing voters. When they vote, they are very reliable Democrats. They voted for Joe Biden like citizens of Washington D.C. – at a rate of 91%. (Well, that’s almost as high as D.C., which went for Biden by 92.1%.)
So, Howell is not in the least bit concerned that black women will start voting for Republicans. She is, rather, concerned that they won’t vote this cycle. You can imagine her concern in places like Georgia and Philadelphia and Houston.
“Who is identified as quote, unquote, swing, in my opinion, is who do you find worthy to target, to talk to, to hear from and then to act on behalf of,” said Laphonza Butler, president of EMILY’s List, at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference on Wednesday.
— Muriel Hall (@hallfornh) September 1, 2022
Another advocate, April Verrett, is treasurer of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union). This past spring, Verrett said that “Black women, just like the rest of the Democratic base, will have little motivation to turn out to the polls in 2022 and 2024 if Congress fails to deliver on their campaign promises to us. We’re expecting nothing less than transformative investments that change the game for working people and women of color — an economy that works for Black women is an economy that works for everyone.”
LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, said that candidates who are black women are the ones successfully championing the twin issues.
“Now you see black women running for some of the highest offices in the land,” said Brown. “They can see black women organizers on the ground that are encouraging and pushing and grasping and lifting up black women.”
She also opined that the increase in black female candidates has come as a result of black women feeling unheard or overlooked, even though they so consistently turn out to vote for Democrats.
In a world full of Kyrsten Sinemas, be a Latosha Brown. 👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿 https://t.co/CzQ1Stn26G
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) January 17, 2022
”Women of color in the United States have the worst rate of maternal death in the developed world,” said Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), referring to laws that limit abortion. “Now, with increasing threats to women’s health care all across the United States, I’m afraid that if we don’t stand up things are only going to get worse. Make no mistake about it — and I do not say this lightly — this is a crisis for our community. But it is a preventable one. We can pass legislation right now that will ensure that every woman in America has the right to make her own health care decisions with her family and her loved ones and her medical professionals.”
A 2019 report from the Center for American Progress found that two-thirds of black women voters believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
It is worth repeating that Planned Parenthood and the larger pro-choice movement emerged from the study of eugenics, which sought to limit reproduction among blacks in order to genetically engineer a whiter, purer world. Eugenics was a pillar of Naziism, or it was at least used by those who defended Hitler’s race-purifying atrocities at the Nuremburg Trials.
As for voting rights, The Brennan Center reported in 2021 that legislative bodies in 39 states considered at least 393 restrictive bills for the 2022 legislative session, mostly affecting policy on mail-in ballots and early voting. Again, these laws are said to impact black women the most, although it is hard to see how that could be true. Black women are smart and resourceful. Diversity advocates should see them as the least affected. But you see, they’re racists.
“If you look at who votes in terms of the black population, it’s older black women,” said Howell. “Older black women tend to vote by mail, and they tend to vote early.”
Restrictive voting laws have been enacted especially in Southern states where blacks live in high concentrations – Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas – where abortion restrictions are also being enforced. Brown considers the two-pronged attack to be “absolutely intentional.”
“We understand that voting gives access to impact policy, and that’s power,” said Brown. “We are seeing sexism, racism and control. The core thread between all those things is a question about freedom.”
Brown said that Democrats can show they are invested in black women by “fully committing” to legislation that will protect them in these issues.
“I want to hear an unquestionable commitment to restoring the Voting Rights Act and passing voting rights laws,” she said. “I want to hear that they’re committed to the elimination of the filibuster, that it’s a key legislative priority and they are willing to do whatever they need to do to so we can actually get voting rights legislation passed this session.”
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