The pattern on the referendums we tracked is clear: all three poverty-reduction measures passed, as did the removal of the exception for abolishing slavery (crime conviction). Tennessee passed that with almost 80%!
But all the abortion-related measures came out different from our hopes. The “no right” to abortion amendments had a perfect track record pre-Dobbs, when the context was defiance of judicial imposition. Post-Dobbs, the context is whether or not people have rights. The framing suffers. Abortion joins the death penalty as an issue where simple referendums may not be the best strategy.
We offer some ideas for referendums that may work better, especially a Positive Protection Approach.
The Back Alley Arises
This story comes from a Washington Post article that mostly seems sympathetic to participants: Covert network provides pills for thousands of abortions in U.S. post Roe
They did what they could to create a dignified operation in the distributor’s living room. While the pills were out on the coffee table, the women would not eat. They would not drink wine. They would wear blue latex gloves.
“If I were taking pills that someone sent me, I’d hate to think that they’d been rumbling around in hands that might have just pet a dog,” said the distributor, her fingers swirling around in the misoprostol.
The 80-year-old raised her eyebrows.
“You just pet your dog with that glove on,” she said.
“I did?” said the distributor.
“Well, you know what?” said the younger activist, throwing up her hands. “We’re not f---ing doctors, we’re not health-care workers. Everyone is taking some risk in this somewhere along the line, and what can you do when it’s illegal?”
The final story at the end of the article, about a woman who took the pills, had terrible side effects, and saw her dead baby, was normally what one would expect to find in pro-life literature.
Prolife San Francisco is sponsoring a Week of Action against Fetal Organ Harvesting, November 14-19. The University of California San Francisco has a particularly egregious record on this, and this is the week the governing board meets. For all those outside San Francisco, they’ll need back-up from people calling and writing, so mark your calendar.
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Fr. Jim Hewes offers:
A Personal Reflection on a Just War
Quotation of the Week
U.S. House Representative Cori Bush
PBS Firing Line, October 7, 2022
Note: This experience comes from a politician who thought Dobbs was disgraceful and supports abortion availability legislation. She’s describing an abortion when she was 19.
I just felt like I needed more time, so I said no, you know what, I’m not ready . . . and the nurse just wouldn’t listen to me . . . as I’m saying no, they continue to pull the instruments and get everything ready . . . they absolutely ignored me, even to the point of, you know, “calm down,” as if I was the problem … they put the instrument inside me and started the instrument. I’m saying “no,” but it was too late . . .
The same as other times where I haven’t been listened to by a provider or a medical staff, you know, I was a young Black woman. Multiple times I felt like it was, “Oh, well we know better, you don’t know what you need, you don’t understand, we know better.”