Planned Parenthood slams Basile for GOP attack on abortion rights bill (updated)

Planned Parenthood went after Republican Senate candidate Tom Basile this week for a campaign mailer that accuses Democratic opponent James Skoufis of supporting a “radical expansion of abortion” for voting for the Reproductive Health Act as an assemblyman.

The group called the claims in the mailer from the New York Republican State Committee a smear against “commonsense legislation preserving Roe v. Wade’s protections for our state’s women.”

“James Skoufis knows that politics has no place in the exam room,” Robin Chappelle Golston, chairwoman of Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC, said in a press release. “While Tom Basile has the luxury of ignoring the reality of our reproductive health care, our state’s women do not. We don’t need extremist politicians spouting falsehoods rather than protecting Roe v. Wade and women’s lives. The simple fact is control of our reproductive health care and rights is absolutely essential to women.”

Skoufis and Basile are competing for the 39th Senate District seat that retiring Sen. Bill Larkin is vacating.

The Democratic-controlled Assembly has passed the Reproductive Health Act each of the last two years, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo supports it, but the Republican-controlled Senate has stopped it in committee. It could become law next year if Democrats win a Senate majority in November elections – a prospect that Democratic candidates have used to help make their case to voters.

The bill would replace a 1970 law that predated the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision by three years and that legalized abortion in New York up to the 24th week of pregnancy. The new version would allow abortions beyond that pregnancy stage if “there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” It would move the abortion right to the health code instead of penal code, where it was inserted in 1970 as an exception to homicide.

The GOP mailer against Skoufis warned that the bill would “allow late-term abortions up to the moment of birth.” On the other side, it showed a photo of a newborn’s feet and asked, “Regardless of your position on abortion, can’t we all agree that late-term, partial-birth abortions are wrong?”

Planned Parenthood’s response says that while that 90 percent of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, serious complications can arise at any stage for which women need access to abortion. “Implying that women and their medical providers would thoughtlessly make the deeply personal decision to end a pregnancy is insulting as well as completely erroneous,” the statement read.

Candice Giove, a Republican campaign spokeswoman, said in an emailed response on Thursday that “James Skoufis and Planned Parenthood know that Roe is the law of the land in New York, and they know that in 2016 the state’s Attorney General wrote a legal opinion validating that. The only thing that’s extremist is Skoufis’ support of the Reproductive Health Act, which goes beyond the parameters set by the landmark Supreme Court Case by allowing non-doctors including, nurses, nurse practitioners and doulas, to perform abortions from 24 weeks up until the moment of birth.”

Republicans also object that moving the right to abortion out of the penal code would prevent authorities from charging someone for killing a fetus by assaulting a pregnant woman.

(Update: Planned Parenthood New York State Votes PAC said the following by email in response to questions about the 1970 law and the Reproductive Health Act: “Because our state law was written 3 years prior to Roe, our law falls short of the constitutional protections of Roe which affirms access to care to preserve both a women’s life and health. It also places the regulation of abortion in the penal code. Abortion is health care, not a crime, and therefore it should be treated as such.”

The organization said only 1.2 percent of abortions in the U.S. take place after 21 weeks of pregnancy, citing a 2013 statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As for allowing health care workers other than doctors to perform abortions, it said that the medical field has changed since 1970, and that early abortion care is within the scope of professional practice for licensed and trained nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and licensed midwives.

“Removing the outdated physician language from the penal code would clarify that physicians and APCs can provide early abortion care within their competency and licensure,” the statement read. “This would ensure that women, especially those in rural areas and low-income women, have greater access to safe and early abortion care.”)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Blog Authors

    Chris McKenna

    Chris McKenna covers Orange County government and politics for the Times Herald-Record. He has been a reporter at the newspaper since 1999. Read Full

    Leonard Sparks

    Leonard Sparks covers the City of Newburgh as a reporter for the Times Herald-Record newspaper. Read Full
  • Categories

  • Archives