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Electing Pro-Choice Candidates

by Dan Burns on January 22, 2012

(Today is NARAL Blog for Choice Day 2012.  Here’s my contribution.)

As I’ve noted before, I wish I had a grand plan to get pro-choice candidates elected, always and everywhere. But since I don’t have one, even to apply just to Democratic candidates, a more reasonable undertaking is in order.

I think that two items are particularly useful to note:

–  It is young women, whose rights and freedoms are being subjected to the most virulent assaults.

–  Far too few young women vote.

Continuing a 12-year trend, (2010) voter turnout among people aged 18-29 is estimated to have been 24 percent, according to Census data analyzed by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)…

We know, from the massive failure at the polls of the “personhood” initiative in Mississippi, that there is a line that a substantial majority of Americans are entirely unwilling to cross, regardless of what many of them may tell pollsters, or their friends and neighbors.  (Mississippi, after all, is the state with the legislature that didn’t get around to ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – the one outlawing slavery – until 1995.)  The sad fact is, that a whole lot of forced-birth legislation, all around the country, isn’t a damn bit less reprehensible than Mississippi’s.  But a lot of people, especially young people, just aren’t paying attention. Or they dismiss it, as not worth worrying about, because everyone knows that access to safe, legal abortion (“not that I’ll ever need it,” is the subtext) isn’t really in doubt – this is the twenty-first century, for crying out loud.  To the point where they can’t even be bothered to register, then take an hour, once a year, on election day, to help do something about it.

Of course, it doesn’t help that so many elected pro-choice Democrats, tend to avoid this issue, as determinedly as they avoid Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.  I don’t know, what I can do about that.  

What can I do?  I’ll take every opportunity, to try to engage young adults, on this and other issues, and try to convince them that their votes matter.  It can be frustrating, but there’s a lot to gain, and nothing to lose.

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