State Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-La.) laid out a strategy to convince her fellow Democrats to support life, in particular, pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, which Planned Parenthood slams as “fake clinics.” She said she came up with the cause at a conference Wednesday with the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). She suggested that turning abortion into a social justice issue should move Democrats toward supporting life, and she condemned the abortion of black babies as a “modern-day genocide,” rooted in historic racism and eugenics.”
“It’s time for us to change the conversation and start addressing issues besides abortion,” Jackson told PJ Media in an interview. “How my advocacy and that of others includes post-birth resources for the mother and her child, for indigent families — that truly is what resonates with Democrats throughout our nation.”
Democrats should be moved by “what NIFLA does outside of choosing life, how they work with the mother and the family after she chooses life,” the pro-life Democrat argued. NIFLA provides legal resources for pro-life pregnancy centers. These centers provide over $100 million in free or low-cost services to mothers and babies, including: pregnancy testing; medical services (ultrasounds, medical exams, prenatal care, STD testing and treatment, etc.); prenatal development and parenting education; material assistance; after abortion recovery support; referrals for medical care; and links to community and public health resources, among other things.
Yet one of the largest obstacles to Democrats seeing these pregnancy centers for what they are is — Planned Parenthood itself. The abortion lobbying industry has branded pregnancy centers “fake clinics” because they do not provide or refer women for abortions. In fact, California passed a law turning these pro-life clinics into “abortion referral agencies,” based on the claim that they are “fake clinics.” The Supreme Court struck down the California law because it violated the centers’ free speech, but Connecticut is considering a similar law now.
In order to combat this narrative, Jackson suggested broadening Title X federal funding for family planning services. Under current law, Title X recipients must offer birth control. Jackson called for an amendment to the effect that “you can still offer birth control if you want to, but you can also not offer it.”
“We need to push Title X money that’s not forcing you to offer birth control,” she said. “Our opponents who talk about access to health care, one of the ways to get health care to women is providing Title X funding to pregnancy centers.”
“It’s an equal protection issue, it’s an equal rights issue,” Jackson argued. “Our pregnancy centers should be able to apply for the same money that abortion centers apply for.”
She suggested that those who attack pregnancy centers have no experience actually seeing the important help these centers provide for women. “I really think that instead of people who’ve never worked in pregnancy centers, who’ve never stepped in a pregnancy center, who allege that they don’t offer health care, they should talk with those who are working in pregnancy centers, who are providing health care.”
“I don’t hear people asking, ‘You don’t provide health care. What are you doing here?'” Jackson said. “They take Planned Parenthood’s word that they’re providing health care, even though they offer nothing but steps toward an abortion, sometimes health care regarding STDs.”
The Democrat lawmaker also made strong arguments against abortion from a progress-oriented and social justice standpoint.
“The cure for cancer may be in a woman’s womb,” she argued. “Democrats are more concerned right now with social issues. When you tell them that you’re talking about social ills but you may be aborting the promise of the answer to those issues, I really believe it will resonate.”
Jackson also adopted the powerful argument that the high abortion rates among the black community amount to a form of genocide.
“It’s modern-day genocide for African Americans,” she told PJ Media. “More African American babies are killed in the womb each year than by any other cause. There’s no other way to look at it. At the close of 2019, more African American babies will die at the hands of abortionists than any other disease, sickness, or violence combined. How do you not define it to be genocide?”
This racial targeting is not an accident, either, Jackson argued. “When the African American population was increasing, Planned Parenthood came on the scene. Our families were large families. It came on the scene for the purpose of controlling the African American population.”
Indeed, the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, supported the Eugenics movement, which focused on bringing about “more children for the fit, less for the unfit,” as Sanger put it. In the early 1900s, race was a clear element of how Eugenics advocates defined “fitness.” Even just last year, billboards in Cleveland and Dallas have targeted black women with pro-abortion messages.
Jackson brings passion and intelligence to the pro-life issue from the Democratic side. Her arguments are strong, but she faces a difficult uphill battle. If she runs for national office, Planned Parenthood will likely try to organize against her and keep her from getting anywhere near Democratic leadership.
Yet if Democrats adopted a pro-life stance like Jackson’s, they could seriously challenge Republican dominance on a key social issue. If this pro-life Democrat somehow finds a way to prevail, she could powerfully change American politics.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.