The Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) have launched a campaign to educate the public about anti-choice candidates this election season.
Many of the anti-choice candidates PPFA and NARAL are highlighting are downplaying their anti-choice stances while seeking election. They are what NARAL refers to as "the Great Pretenders," because they either minimize or hide their opposition to abortion.
Planned Parenthood has announced that it will contribute more than $1 million to congressional candidates who favor abortion rights and family planning. The money will be used for voter education programs and campaign contributions.
"It isn't the role of the government to turn personal, medical matters into political issues," said Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood. "But the congressional leadership has made the voting booth as essential as a family planning clinic if we want to ensure access to reproductive health care."
NARAL has been mobilizing pro-choice voters in about 60 House and Senate races in an effort to prevent election of abortion opponents. "Our goal is to not allow anti-choice forces to increase their numbers in Congress," NARAL President Kate Michelman shared with reporters.
Candidates viewed as foes to NARAL include anti-choice Rep. Linda Smith, R-Wash, who is challenged by por-choice encombant Sen. Patt Murray, D-Wash., and anti-choice Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-NY, who is being challenged by Rep. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
"If these candidates can convince voters that they pose no real threat to a woman's right to choose. . .they can mask their true opposition to reproductive choice until after the election," relayed Michelman, who also added that the end of the 105th Congress will close "four years of the most difficult period in the history of reproductive rights."
Since the GOP gained dominance in Congress in 1995, nearly 100 votes have been cast against reproductive rights, including bans on federal funding for abortions for women in the military and in federal prisons, and attempts to outlaw certain surgical abortion procedures.
Media Resources: Associated Press - October 6, 1998