A black pro-life Democrat lawmaker who received national attention for standing up to her party in the Connecticut state House as she voted against its abortion expansion bill, now is facing a primary challenge for her seat by a young white liberal man.

Connecticut State Rep. Treneé McGee (D-West Haven) received praise from the national Susan B. Anthony List in April for her stirring words as she spoke about the harm abortion has brought to her black community.

Now, Joe Miller, 24, an IT professional in the supply chain sector, has filed paperwork to run against McGee, 27, a former councilwoman who won her seat in a special election in December when her predecessor resigned amid fraud charges.

According to a report at the New Haven Register Wednesday, abortion rights are now at the “forefront” of the Democrat primary for West Haven’s state House seat.

A report at CT Insider featured McGee’s “voice of dissent” during debate on the bill since signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont (D).

McGee rose to speak against the bill, recalling numerous conversations she has had with black girls over the years about abortion.

“They were taught about abortion as a birth control method,” the Democrat said. “They were taught that at any point in time, when they were 13 or 12 or 15, they could go to a Planned Parenthood and receive an abortion without their parents knowing.”

McGee added:

I want to speak to the history of this industry and why I think it’s destructive to my community. Black women make up 14% of child-bearing populations yet obtained 36.2% of all reported abortions. Black women have the highest abortion ratio in the country – 474 abortions per 1,000 live births.

In an interview with CT Insider, McGee added that expanded abortion rights are “definitely not a priority in the black community.”

She added that members of the black and Puerto Rican Caucus, many who also opposed the abortion expansion bill, urged her to speak up during the debate.

“There are many Democrats who I believe have felt shut out of the party because of their beliefs on abortion,” she said.

The West Haven lawmaker was one of 14 state House Democrats – among them 10 people of color, including McGee – who voted against the measure that now allows Connecticut to serve as a haven for women and girls seeking abortions from outside the state, and provides additional protections for Connecticut abortionists.

Miller told the Register he does not believe McGee’s pro-life views reflect the values of West Haven residents.

“I think it’s fair to say she had led a charge or a crusade within the General Assembly against reproductive rights, against the most recent bill with protections, and demonized Planned Parenthood and invoked eugenics,” he said.

“I think her priorities with that were wrong and misguided,” Miller said. “I am a full supporter of women’s rights and reproductive rights. I look at it as not only a rights issue, but also a health care issue. We’re not in a position in this country, clearly in the pandemic we’re going through, that we can weaken in any sector our health care system.”

McGee did receive the West Haven Democrat Town Committee’s endorsement in the primary race, the Register reported.

The pro-life Family Institute of Connecticut characterized Miller’s primary challenge of McGee as “white progressives punish black woman for speaking her mind.”

Connecticut held its first-ever March for Life on March 23, with several thousand residents gathered outside the state Capitol building in Hartford for a rally and peaceful demonstration that celebrated life from the moment of conception to natural death.

Christina Bennett, another prominent black pro-life leader from Connecticut, told the crowds during the rally her mother changed course when pregnant with her after a janitor urged her to reconsider her decision to have an abortion.

“The place that could have been my graveyard is now my battleground,” Bennett said of Hartford.

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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Treneé McGee” by Connecticut House Democrats. Background Photo “Connecticut Capitol” by Ragesoss. CC BY-SA 1.0.