We’re just one day away from the conclusion of the much anticipated rematch between Stacey Abrams and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Next Tuesday, voters from across the state in Georgia will weigh in on the candidates and the most pressing issues facing Georgians. And for Black voters abortion access in Georgia has taken center stage.
According to the November Quinnipiac poll, Black Americans were more likely than white and hispanic voters to say that abortion was the most pressing issue facing Georgia today.
Roughly 14 percent of Black Georgians said that abortion was the most pressing issue facing Georgia. Only inflation and racial inequality ranked higher among Black Georgians’ top concerns, at 27 and 17 percent, respectively.
Gubernatorial challenger Stacey Abrams, has not been shy about calling out the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade or the subsequent six-week abortion ban enacted in Georgia.
“Your autonomy as a woman should not be dependent on your geography,” Abrams told Politico. “That is why the Dobbs decision is so viscerally wrong: Because it subjugates women to second-class citizenship depending on their zip code.”
Black voters in Georgia seem to be largely in agreement with Abrams. An October Quinnipiac poll of likely voters, found that a plurality of Black Georgians, 50 percent, believe that abortion should be always legal, and 25 percent of Black Georgians believe abortion should be legal, with some limits.
Abrams has also stressed the economic impact of Georgia’s six-week abortion ban in a time when prices for household goods, housing, and child care are sky-high.
“You can’t divorce being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy from the economic realities of having a child,” said Abrams on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “It’s only politicians who see it as simply another cultural conversation.”
Nalah Lewis, 29, a Black voter and organizer in Georgia, says she is particularly concerned about the impact of anti-abortion legislation on the dire Black maternal health crisis in the state.
“[The six week ban is] going to really raise the numbers of maternal mortality with Black and brown women, especially,” said Lewis. “In Georgia, we’re already number one in the country. So this is going to be devastating to our community.”
According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, Black women are over three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women in Georgia. And a recent study from the University of Colorado found that banning abortion would raise maternal mortality rates 29 percent statewide.
Despite the fact that Kemp has signed some of the most extreme anti-abortion legislation in the country, he has tried to shy away from talking about his views on abortion during the campaign.
During last Sunday’s debate, Kemp said that he had no “desire to go move the needle any further” on abortion restrictions, according to the Guardian. But the conservative governor said he would look into additional abortion restrictions, if they were passed by state legislators.
Whether or not Abrams gets the turnout from Black voters she’ll need to win, it doesn’t seem like the fight over abortion access in Georgia is going away anytime soon.