Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) unveiled an abortion policy on Tuesday that treats pro-life states the way Jim Crow states were treated in the civil rights era — effectively treating Christian voters like racists.
Harris’s proposal is based on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required certain states — most of them in the South — to obtain “preclearance” from the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal court before making any changes to the way elections were held.
The idea behind the law was that states that had previously used procedural changes to prevent or discourage black Americans from voting could not be trusted to administer their own voting process, and needed federal supervision.
The Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, largely because the law had been successful, and the list of states was outdated. But it remains a civil rights milestone — one Harris has tapped for pro-choice purposes.
As HuffPost reported Tuesday, “States and localities with a history of violating Roe v. Wade in the last 25 years would need to get clearance from the Department of Justice before any new abortion law or practice could take effect in their jurisdiction.”
In other words, Harris would target socially conservative states the way racially discriminatory states once were. Harris’s message: she takes a woman’s “right” to an abortion as seriously as the civil rights of black voters.
At the same time, however, Harris’s policy conveys the message that there is something morally repugnant about the pro-life movement. Effectively, it equates concern for the unborn, on the one hand, with white supremacy, on the other. It casts Christian voters as morally equivalent to segregationists.
Whether constitutional or not, Harris’s new policy seems perfect for a crowded Democratic presidential primary. But it is guaranteed to deepen divisions at the national level.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.