Abortion and what we learned from Alabama

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Last Tuesday evening’s election outcome created a sigh of relief felt around the nation, but it also was a wake-up call. A state in our union came within a 1.5% margin of electing a known racist, misogynist, and possible sexual predator because he supports abortion.


For some Alabama voters, supporting abortion rights may be a sin worse than some of the sexual misdeeds Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore has been accused of — allegations Moore has denied.

That’s the conundrum facing the state’s conservative, deeply religious electorate: Embrace Democrat Doug Jones despite his liberal stance on abortion and other social issues or vote for Moore anyway even if they believe there is some truth to the sexual assault allegations against him.

“The abortion issue alone is enough to buy [Moore] a win,” predicted Brent Buchanan, an Alabama GOP pollster and consultant. “That’s the one nonnegotiable for social conservatives. You’re not as hardcore on taxes. ‘I can give up on that,’ some voters might think. But when you’re talking about somebody else’s life, that’s a whole different ballgame. And I think that’s the big difference.”

This is a hard reality to come to terms with. But as a movement, we need to truly use this as a wake-up call and continue our work. Yes, this was a great victory for supporters of abortion – but barely.

The best way that we can learn from this is ensuring that we do not become complacent, but instead, continue to work with the plan that has a proven record of winning – sharing our stories about abortion and respect.

When our community came together (lead by our allies at Young Women United, Strong Families, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU) to beat the Albuquerque abortion ban in 2013 we were told that is was unbeatable.

But nevertheless, our community persisted. And now is the time for us to persist, and not get complacent.

The reality is that we have a long way to go to see the culture shift that we are working towards. There are still people in our state that believe they have the right to tell our families what to do regarding personal decisions about abortion. They would love nothing more than for the government to take these decisions away from women and their families.

We need to ensure that the Land of Enchantment remains a place that respects women. We know that best way to ensure this is by speaking out against shame and stigma. It’s our stories that will make a difference. Whether it’s sharing our own personal stories on abortion, or whether it’s sharing a story of how we supported a friend or family member during their abortion. These are the stories that will help us end the stigma around abortion.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, one in every four women in our country will have an abortion by the age of 45. We need to take a stand for our friends, daughters, sisters, and cousins. There is no reason to permit the stigma of abortion to negatively affect future generations of women.

Please join us and sign up for the Respect NM Women campaign to stay up to date on how you can speak out in support of abortion and share your stories.