Among Black Americans, support for reproductive rights is connected with their concern for broader civil rights, the New York Times reports. The article frames CRCC’s Rev. Dr. Najuma Smith-Pollard as helping shape Vice President Kamala Harris’ civil rights-based rhetoric on abortion after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The story begins:
As she and other faith leaders sat last month with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the implications of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard, a pastor at a Black church in Los Angeles, reflected on the complex feelings in her community about abortion.
While Black voters remain overwhelmingly allied with the Democratic Party, some, especially older churchgoers, have a conservative streak when it comes to social issues like abortion. The best way to communicate to those members of her community, Ms. Smith-Pollard and other faith leaders said not long before the court ruled to eliminate the constitutional right to abortion, would be to frame the response as not just a matter of abortion, but rather as part of a broader movement to restrict individual rights, including voting, marriage and control over one’s own body.
The most effective message for her community “would be like having to have the conversation without the word abortion,” Ms. Smith-Pollard later said in an interview.
“We were all clear that this is about abortion, but this is not just about abortion,” Ms. Smith-Pollard said, adding that it was imperative to focus on “the implication on other rights — civil rights.”
Ms. Harris seized on that advice earlier this month when she took the stage at the Essence Festival in New Orleans before an audience of several hundred mostly Black women. The vice president drew a connection between states moving to outlaw abortion in the wake of the Supreme Court decision and those restricting voting rights.