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Abortion Creeping Up as an Election Issue with Black Women, Says Poll

Voters go to the ballot box for several reasons, but some voters head to the polls for one issue above all others. New polling suggests abortion is the latest single issue, and Black women voters are more likely to respond to it. 


A new poll by health policy research organization KFF tracking services reveals while many issues are competing for voters’ attention, half of voters (52%) say abortion is a “very important issue.” One in eight voters (12%) consider abortion to be the “most important issue” to their vote in the 2024 election. About one in three say abortion is either “somewhat important” (22%) or “not an important issue” (14%) to the 2024 election. .  


The share of respondents saying abortion is the “most important issue” includes more than one in four Black women voters, however, at 28%.  


“Black women have seen the dreadful alternative when people are not allowed to have safe abortions, to have a choice,” said Jaribu Hill, executive director of the Mississippi Workers' Center for Human Rights (MWCHR). “This is likely because the options are fewer for Black women and poor women, especially impoverished Black and brown women.” 

One in Five Adults Consider the Right to Use Contraception to Be Under Threat; Larger Shares of Democrats—Including Democratic Women—Say the Same.” –KFF Poll

Hill said women are intimately wary of situations in states like Mississippi, which recently forced a 13-year-old rape victim to deliver her rapist’s baby after legislators enacted a draconian abortion ban. The new Trump-influenced Supreme Court killed the right to an abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in 2022, but more than half of Black Americans live in anti-abortion Southern states like Mississippi. Middle-class white women can more easily leave a ban state and get a safe abortion in a legal state, however impoverished Black women, including the 13-year-old rape victim, often have no choice but to carry the child to term. 


White legislators who dominate Southern legislatures are the ones who put Black Mississippians in this new situation, but they generally take no responsibility for their actions when confronted. Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch represented the state of Mississippi in killing Roe in the Dobbs suit, but when asked to speak on her role in forcing a child rape victim to give birth, Fitch ducked behind staff and ran away. 


Dázon Dixon Diallo, founder and President of Atlanta reproductive justice organization SisterLove Inc, said abortion restrictions disproportionately affect Black women, so it’s predictable to find their renewed interest reflected in polling. 

Dázon Dixon Diallo

“Black women understand the intersectionality of abortion. Having access to abortion is not just about whether or not you want to have a baby but is it safe for me to have a baby, as a Black woman,” Diallo said. “Black maternal mortality is a concern. Can I afford it? Will it take away my opportunity to get out of my low-income designation? There’s much more to it than ‘is this my time to have a baby’. The intersectionality for abortion is a lot more clear for Black women, and (this poll) reveals how we’ve reliably shown up in the overall reproductive health rights movement.” 


Diallo added incidents like the 13-year-old forced mother in Mississippi sent a shock of fear through the Black community, not only in Mississippi but throughout the nation. “I’m in Georgia, and there are people in my legislature right now who are moving to do the same thing here.”  


Poll information suggests the Dobbs decision unleashed a new generation of abortion-minded voters largely comprised of those who want abortion to be “legal in all cases.” They are disproportionately made up of Black voters, Dems, women voters, and 18- to 29-year-old voters.  

Also, Trump and Independent women kind of not clicking over abortion.

Attitudes were different in the years preceding the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. In those days, when states did not force children to have babies, anti-abortion evangelicals and Republicans were the voters most likely to identify as “single issue abortion voters.” Their single issue consisted of the defeating of Roe. Now that anti-abortionists have done their damage, Hill says they must brace for a backlash.  


“Prior to Roe, anti-abortion sentiment was a wedge issue—that and same-sex marriage. I’m not surprised Roe flipped that (dynamic), and other flips have happened, too,” Hill said. “I’m excited there’s an uptick in interest.” 


Additional poll numbers show 16% of all women voters place abortion in the “most important” category, along with 22% of Democratic women and 19% of women who live in states under an abortion ban. A whopping two-thirds of each of these groups say they think abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Nearly two-thirds of voters KFF polled oppose a 16-week national abortion ban. 


Almost 80% of Democratic voters and 35% of independents expressed President Joe Biden was the president they trust more to move abortion policy in the right direction. Nineteen percent of independents favored Trump. 


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