Politics & Policy

Stacey Abrams Equates Abortion Restrictions with ‘Forced Pregnancy’

Stacey Abrams speaks at the Women In The World Summit in New York City, April 11, 2019. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams suggested in an interview on Monday that recent bills placing various restrictions on access to abortion should collectively be referred to as “forced-pregnancy bills.”

“There are a number of bills around the country that are limiting women’s rights and access to abortion, and I wanted to ask you how can Democrats push back against these bills,” asked Root host Terrell Starr in an interview published on Monday.

“I think Democrats have to first call these bills what they are, which are forced-pregnancy bills. But we also have to acknowledge that access to abortion is part of reproductive health and therefore it’s part of reproductive justice,” she continued. “Particularly for African-American women, our lack of access to a full range of reproductive choices limits our ability to not only determine our families but it also harms our ability to engage in the economy.”

In the U.S., black women are more than five times more likely than white women to have an abortion, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, and though they comprise just 32.2 percent of Georgia’s population, black women obtain 62.4 percent of the abortions performed in the state.

Starr presumably was referring to a collection of recently passed “heartbeat bills,” which prohibit abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected (typically around six weeks into pregnancy).

Ohio governor Mike DeWine recently signed a version of such legislation into law and similar bills have been passed by Republican-held state legislatures in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Georgia this year. The bills are not expected to survive the legal challenges immediately filed against them by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.

Abrams, who was bested by Republican Brian Kemp last year, has refused to concede the gubernatorial race and has alternated between blaming racism, voter suppression and, most recently, the political media’s “immaturity” and “incompetence” for her loss.

“I would attribute it less to racism and more to a very narrow and immature ability to navigate the story of my campaign,” Abrams told Starr when asked whether race played a role in her defeat.

“I was doing a number of things that were new and different and discomforting to some,” she continued. “But what was worse was that, for a lot of those folks, they could not comprehend how all of these things could be true at the exact same moment. I wouldn’t necessarily ascribe any racial animus as much as I would a lack of — there was some incompetence in the coverage that was problematic.”

Abrams is now considering a potential 2020 Senate run and told Starr she would make her final decision in the coming weeks.

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