Abortion advocates usually paint a caricature of pro-lifers as being only white conservatives. But the pro-life camp is much broader than opponents would like to think.
In Connecticut this week, several Democrats and minority members of the state legislature from the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus opposed a bill to expand abortion access. State Representative Treneé McGee, a Democrat, was one of the vocal opponents of the bill.
McGee, who is Black, said that she has spoken with Black girls who were taught that abortion was just another birth control method. “They were taught that at any point in time, when they were 13 or 12 or 15, they could go to a Planned Parenthood and receive an abortion without their parents knowing,” she said.
Rather than being a boon to minority communities, as abortion is usually billed, McGee argued that it has harmed them. “I want to speak to the history of this industry and why I think it’s destructive to my community,” McGee said. “Black women make up 14 percent of child-bearing population yet obtained 36.2 percent of all reported abortions. Black women have the highest abortion ratio in the country—474 abortions per 1,000 live births.”
McGee acknowledged that her perspective is in the minority in her party, but said she was encouraged by Black and Puerto Rican Caucus members to speak against the bill before the House vote.
“I knew that it had a very strong chance of passing but I wanted to give a different perspective on this topic, which affects our communities differently,” McGee told CT Insider. “There are many Democrats who I believe have felt shut out of the party because of their beliefs on abortion.”
Of the 14 Democrats who voted against the bill, 10 were people of color. Ultimately, the bill passed 87-60, and Goveranor Ned Lamont has promised to sign the bill if given the chance.
While it is disappointing to see Connecticut join the states looking to expand abortion access before the Supreme Court reviews abortion cases later this year, the state legislative process was a promising reminder that pro-lifers can come from many backgrounds and points in the political spectrum. “My community isn’t a monolith,” McGee said. “We’re more of a mosaic.”