Dear White Mormon Voter
Class of 2019
Dear White Mormon Voter,
I am addressing this letter to you because the Pew Research Center tells me that you are the American demographic that is the most reliable, most steadfast, and most unwavering in their tendency to vote Republican. However, many of you did not in fact vote for Donald Trump. Apparently you were too outraged by his unadulterated misogyny (though I recognize that you, like me, also have a complicated relationship with gender) to get behind the party candidate. I admire your party loyalty, and the courage to deviate from it. I’m hoping that you’ll be willing to do me a small favor.
Join me in taking positive action to defend abortion rights.
I recently learned that 6 out of 10 moderate Republicans, along with 58 percent of the general population, support abortion rights. This appeal is intended for you, White Mormon Voter, if you are among the 4 out of 10 moderate Republicans who do not. I’m aware that you may question the morality of abortion. I’m not writing to convince you that the decision to have an abortion is, as I believe, one that is not only morally sound, but admirable. I’m writing to enlist you to help me protect the legality of abortion rights.
There’s a checklist of value statements on the GOP website, such as “health decisions should be made by us and our doctors,” that “families and communities should be strong and free from government intrusion,” “Government should be smaller, smarter, and more efficient,” and that “the Constitution should be honored, valued, and upheld.” I encourage you to support these values by supporting abortion rights.
Abortion is inherently a “health decision (that) should be made by us and our doctors.” However, abortion restrictions, such as the mandatory waiting periods required by 27 states and the counseling required by 35 states—including 29 states which write the counselor’s script, creating a bonus restriction on free speech—unnecessarily impose government action within that private decision-making sphere. Supporting these regulations or otherwise restrictive abortion legislation contradicts the statement that “families and communities should be strong and free from government intrusion.” I encourage you to help liberate women, families, and communities from government intrusion by opposing mandatory waiting periods and anti-First Amendment counseling scripts for those receiving abortion services.
Restrictions on public funding for abortion services results in costlier and less efficient governance. Within the 17 states that allocate Medicaid funding for abortion services, the cost of each publicly-funded birth is four to five times the cost of a Medicaid-sponsored abortion. Allowing federal funding for abortion services would decrease birth-related expenses for those receiving public benefits, thus decreasing overall expenditures while demanding greater fiscal efficiency. I encourage you to demand smarter allocation of government resources by supporting the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and permitting federal funding for abortion services.
Threatening abortion access threatens a profound Constitutional right—the freedom to exercise personal choice and autonomy in regard to one’s own medical decisions. Honoring, valuing, and upholding the Constitution requires honoring, valuing, and upholding the right to have an abortion. I encourage you to defend all Constitutional rights equally, including abortion rights; and I will promise to do the same—even the Constitutional rights that have been interpreted in ways I don’t like.
A few years ago, I met a teenager carrying a Book of Mormon on Malcom X Blvd and 125th Street in Manhattan. He offered to carry my groceries home for me on the handlebars of his bike. I declined, so he just walked up the street with me and told me about his faith. I think he was the only real-life White Mormon Voter I’d ever encountered.
That kid probably knew he wasn’t going to convert me, but he was a young man of faith—including, apparently, faith in the possible success of extremely long shots. And I think he appreciated that I listened to him without dismissing him. I know I’m exercising a similar long-shot faith in writing this letter to you, imaginary White Mormon Voter. And I truly appreciate you listening, without dismissing me.