Why abortion — not sexual misconduct — is likely to decide the Alabama Senate race

tags: abortion, Roy Moore

Stacie Taranto is an associate professor of history at Ramapo College of New Jersey and author of a book about the dissolution of the Rockefeller Republicans in New York state, "Kitchen Table Politics: Conservative Women and Family Values in New York."

If Republican Roy Moore survives allegations of sexual misconduct (several involving minors) and beats Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama’s Senate election Dec. 12, evangelical single-issue abortion voters will likely deliver the victory.

Pew Research Center study conducted in 2014 showed that the vast majority (58 percent) of adults in Alabama who say that abortion should be “illegal in all or most cases” are churchgoing, white Protestant evangelicals who self-identify as political conservatives and vote or lean Republican. They have long been an important part of the Republican political base — and Moore must turn them out if he hopes to win (three new polls out this week show that after falling behind Jones, Moore is now up 5 to 6 percentage points).

Understanding the power of the abortion issue, Moore’s wife, Kayla, claimed at a rally that Jones is the real threat to children, because he supports “full-term abortion,” which she defined as “suck[ing] a child’s brains out at the moment before birth.” Such a procedure, however, simply does not exist, as states generally restrict abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of medical necessity.

Moore’s attempts to win the race by playing abortion politics has led to intense scrutiny of Alabama’s evangelical voters. The spotlight on them is especially harsh since the race is occurring both against the backdrop of a national reckoning over sexual misconduct and assault, and at a moment when Republicans need every vote they can get in the Senate as intraparty squabbling has thwarted their agenda for months.

Antiabortion voters like Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey who cite this latter factor as a reason for supporting Moore look hypocritical: they claim to want to protect children (which they deem unborn fetuses to be), but appear to actually care more about securing a vote for their legislative priorities, even if that means backing an alleged predator who is accused of assaulting girls as young as 14 while he was in his 30s. ...

Read entire article at The Washington Post

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