How did Doug Jones end up here on the abortion issue?
You almost start to feel bad for Senator Doug Jones (D-AL). He holds a position he knows he should have never won, he has numerous Republican candidates chomping at the bit to take him on and he continues to feel like a caretaker senator.
But it got worse this week as now his (former?) good friend State Representative John Rogers (D-Birmingham) has spent the last week saying insane things on abortion, calling the president’s son “retarded” and now he says he is taking on Jones in the Democratic primary for his seat.
As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Rep. Rogers claims that Sen. Jones secretly agrees with him but can’t say so because of politics. When asked, Jones didn’t deny it, he just weakly demurred and whined about a private conversation going public.
He was cagey about agreeing with this quote from Rogers: “Some kids are unwanted, so you kill them now or kill them later.”
But how did this abortion issue come to define Jones as much as it does for so many Alabamians?
Well, Democrats have become increasingly emboldened by social media and a friendly traditional media to believe that the rest of the world holds their views on abortion. Pro-life Democrats seem to be almost non-existent in the ranks of elected officials even in overwhelmingly conservative states. Jones knows this and spent his entire campaign for U.S. Senate hedging and explaining how he feels about abortion.
In a conversation with NBC’s Chuck Todd about banning abortion at 20 weeks, Jones made a comment that would kill his campaign in a state like Alabama against anyone not under a cloud of suspicion as a child molester, by saying, “I’m not in favor of anything that is going to infringe on a woman’s right and her freedom to choose. That’s just the position that I’ve had for many years. It’s a position I continue to have.”
But that wasn’t enough, he added, “But when those people — I want to make sure that people understand that once a baby is born, I’m going to be there for that child. That’s where I become a right to lifer.”
People understood. People still understand.
His allies at AL.com did their best to clean this up and claim that Jones “supports Alabama’s abortion laws as they are, saying that people are ‘fairly comfortable’ with the current law.”
But this isn’t true. The Alabama legislature continues to pass laws and amendments that get the affirmative vote of an electorate that continues to say that Alabama is a pro-life state.
In 2018, Amendment 2 specifically spelled it out:
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended; to declare and otherwise affirm that it is the public policy of this state to recognize and support the sanctity of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, most importantly the right to life in all manners and measures appropriate and lawful; and to provide that the constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.
It passed 59-41.
His supporters believe he is adamantly pro-choice.
.@SenDougJones has two years before he faces voters again. He stated emphatically during his campaign against Moore that he was pro choice. If he turns his back on the fragile coalition that elected him – most of them women – he’s toast in 2020. #alpolitics
— Bob Lowry (@SunnySouthAL) July 10, 2018
If this is an issue at all in the next election, Jones is toast and he knows it.
Jones’ record, comments and reported comments on this issue clearly place him at odds with a majority of the voters in this state and this could be why he is raising most of the money for his re-election from outside of Alabama.
In fact, it is pretty clear that Senator Doug Jones is better situated to be New York’s third Senator than Alabama’s junior senator.