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A new report from New York Times White House correspondent Zolan Kanno-Youngs detailed how pro-abortion Democrats are strategizing to keep older African Americans with more pro-life views in their camp.
In his piece, titled, “Democrats Navigate Nuanced Views on Abortion Among Black Voters,” Kanno-Youngs observed, “While Black voters remain overwhelmingly allied with the Democratic Party, some, especially older churchgoers, have a conservative streak when it comes to social issues like abortion.”
The piece broached the “best way” Democrats can “communicate” with these black voters who have a “conservative streak when it comes to social issues like abortion.” Los Angeles-based black pastor Najuma Smith-Pollard told The New York Times that the party has to “frame the response as not just a matter of abortion, but rather as part of a broader movement to restrict individual rights, including voting, marriage and control over one’s own body.”
As Smith-Pollard told the paper, have the conversation “without the word abortion.”
“We were all clear that this is about abortion, but this is not just about abortion,” she added, stressing the need to “focus on ‘the implication on other rights – civil rights.’”
The reporter did acknowledge that the Democrats’ “strong support for abortion rights” does “obscure more nuanced positions held by critical components of the party’s electoral coalition,” especially in Hispanic American communities. As such, the issue has helped “push some Catholic voters toward Republicans.”
Kanno-Youngs explained that navigating this type of electoral nuance is “especially critical to President Biden among Black voters, a vital constituency to him and one that has shown periodic signs of frustration with his priorities in the White House.”
According to recent polling, African American voters in general support a “legal right to abortion,” though there is a split within the community as to the “morality of abortion.” The reporter blamed this on the “the enduring influence of the Black church, which has both been at the center of civil rights activism and long stood as a pillar of cultural traditionalism, particularly in the South.”
Co-director of the Politics of Race and Ethnicity Lab at the University of Texas, Eric McDaniel told Kanno-Youngs that the Democratic Party has to “package” their abortion talking points in a “very specific way” in order to appeal to black Christians. “If they’re going to talk about it, they have to frame this as, ‘This is just part of a larger assault on your rights,” he said.
Recent polling has shown that the party has had some success growing abortion support among black Americans. “The percentage of Black Democrats who said they found abortion morally acceptable rose to 50 percent in aggregated polling by Gallup between 2017 and 2020 from 34 percent in polling between 2001 and 2007,” the piece reported.
In addition, “the percentage of Black Democrats saying that abortion should be legal under any circumstances increased to 35 percent for the period between 2017 and 2020 from 27 percent between 2001 and 2007.”
That same Gallup poll revealed that 75% of all African Americans “are now supportive of laws protecting ‘most or all’ cases of abortion.”
The reporter claimed that the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade made the “issue a simpler one for voters who might otherwise be debating what the proper limits might be.” He quoted Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn, who stated, “There’s not a lot of shades of gray in that.”
To corroborate this trend, Kanno-Youngs mentioned how African American voter Sharonda Woodard, a Florida corrections officer, sees abortion as “killing a child,” but “said she was also firmly opposed to eliminating a woman’s right to choose.”
Others, like Deon Haywood, an executive director of an organization which assists those looking for reproductive care, i.e. abortions, claims that Biden isn’t saying enough to stress that the reversal of Roe V. Wade will hurt black women most. “I think that does a disservice to our community, not just the Black community, but understanding history.”
One Louisiana state representative told the outlet that Democrats need to acknowledge the more “nuanced” abortion views “among a section of voters, warning that to “ignore” them “would be repeating an error by her party.”