“Abortion has been worse on the African-American community than the slave trade or Jim Crow,” said Robert Woodson, a panelist at a sparsely attended Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) panel on reaching out to more diverse voting populations.
Woodson, founder of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, said that social issues like abortion were a better strategy for reaching out than assuming low-income or minority voters pick Democrats because they want handouts.
Woodson pushed back after the white moderator, Revolvis Consulting partner Jason Roe, said, “Democrats, using nonprofits and going into these communities, have lots of goodies to offer. And our guys aren’t exactly in the offering goodies business.”
“It’s not ‘goodies,’” Woodson said. “It bothers me when people assume that lower-income people respond to gifts—food stamps, or things that are given to them. Nobody wants to be dependent. So let’s assume that people want a hand up, and not a handout.”
But Woodson and the other three speakers on the all-male panel (two panelists, including Woodson, were Black, and two were white), all said that Republicans should “renew our commitment to communicating how our policies will help,” as Roe put it, rather than “moderate our policies.”
Conservatives often invoke historical racism as an argument for ending safe, legal abortion care. Earlier this week, Alabama state Rep.Mary McClurkin (R-Indian Springs) came under fire from her Black colleagues after she compared a bill that would ban abortion before many women know they are pregnant to the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case that ended legal segregation in the United States.