By Rachel Peller
State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy’s recent transition to a pro-abortion rights stance will undoubtedly earn him more than just praise and criticism; he’s likely to make substantial financial gains from this move.
While the organization I work for holds diverse political ideologies, I’m personally a member of the Green Party and a leaning socialist. As such, I have to admit that I’m prejudiced to believe that conservatives are the wealthy ones who hold control over the political system. That’s why, when I researched pro-life and pro-choice campaign contributions, I expected to find that, in a country where the abortion issue has grown increasingly split along party lines, pro-life candidates would have their pockets well-lined by the conservative organizations that support them. My research, in fact, demonstrated the opposite.
In the last election cycle, pro-choice political action committees spent four times more than pro-life PACs. Super power EMILY’s List spends a whopping $10 million through its 527 alone and works with an annual income of more than $50 million, a staggering seven times greater than its pro-life counterpart, the Susan B. Anthony List.
Candidates with a pro-choice position stand to benefit financially from their stance, which may account largely for Kennedy’s decision. In 2012, EMILY’s List spent more than $50,000 against 15 different candidates. Thirteen lost their races, resulting in an 87 percent success rate for highly funded elections. It’s easy to see why Kennedy may have been tempted to modify his stance.
What Kennedy may have forgotten is that 43 percent of Democrats oppose abortion in all or most cases, according to the most recent Gallup poll, and only 26 percent of Americans would support the abortion expansion component of the Women’s Equality Act, which does not actually improve women’s equality, but instead puts our health at risk in favor of increased funding for abortion providers, who, according to my research, already have more than enough money to go around.
Kennedy may have also forgotten that to be progressive means to advocate for the expansion of equal rights for all human beings.
His transition to a pro-abortion rights Democrat is counterintuitive to this platform, just as it is contradictory to his website, which states that he is “focused on finding common ground solutions.”
As a young, progressive voter, I hope that Kennedy will realize that the 10th point, while increasing his financial capital, also hurts women, denies equality and goes against the majority of the individuals he represents.
Rachel Peller is the director of outreach and administration for Feminists for Nonviolent Choices.