Stacey Abrams’s Personal Evolution on Abortion Rights

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“I was wrong when I dismissed her question. I was wrong when I assumed I knew enough of her truth to tell her what she could or could not do, what she should or should not seek, what medical advice should be given and what support should be offered,” Ms. Abrams said.

Still, Ms. Abrams considered herself opposed to abortion rights after college and as she went through law school. She only shifted her views, she said, when she began to think about running for office. At 30, as a deputy city attorney, she interviewed for a position on the board of directors for the Georgia WIN List, a political action committee that backs women candidates who support abortion access. When she applied, Ms. Abrams disclosed that she was unsure of what her views of abortion were, she said. She had reservations about calling herself “pro-choice,” she said.

Melita Easters, founder and executive director of the Georgia WIN List, said she remembered Ms. Abrams’s uncertainty, saying “The Stacey who served on the Georgia WIN List board is not the same Stacey who has evolved into someone who commands the presence of a room and speaks with such great eloquence.”

“She was the more thoughtful, introverted side of herself at that time period,” Ms. Abrams said.

Ms. Easters and the organization’s co-founder, Mary Long, introduced Ms. Abrams to several women affiliated with the organization in an effort to connect her with abortion rights supporters in Georgia politics. Ms. Abrams said she wrote an essay to help herself reason through it: While abortion might not be a procedure she wanted for herself, she decided, it was one she was willing to fight to protect access to.

“It was when I got ready to stand for office that I had to really make myself confront what I meant by that,” Ms. Abrams said. “And what I meant was that I was no longer in the anti-abortion camp.”

Ms. Abrams won her seat in the Georgia House in 2006 as an abortion rights supporter. In 2011, as the Democratic minority leader in the House, she rallied all the chamber’s Democrats to kill a Republican-proposed bill that would have attempted to ban abortions in the state in nearly all circumstances.

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