Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NARAL Responds to Barve

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC Chair Tracy Terrell has sent the following response to House Majority Leader Kumar Barve (D-17) on his criticism of their endorsements.

Dear Delegate Barve,

The recent NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC press release listed our endorsed candidates as of June 11, 2010. There will be additional endorsements and a press release will be posted after the filing deadline.

As in the past, we will issue a Voting Guide which will be on the website and mailed to our members. It lists all candidates and will identify those who are endorsed, 100% pro-choice, mixed choice, or anti-choice. It will also indicate which candidates did not respond to our questionnaire.

When reviewing the record of someone who has held office, we examine the questionnaire, voting records, and leadership. For all new candidates, we also review activities before becoming a legislator.

I will address some of your comments concerning specific candidates below:

1) Former Delegate Cheryl Kagan has been an enormous champion for NARAL and women’s reproductive health issues. She has not only worked for our National organization, but has worked tirelessly on our behalf on many issues even before we ever asked her to assist the organization including authoring legislation on access to emergency contraception. We endorse those who go above and beyond at the state level. Senator Jennie Forehand will be listed in the Voter’s Guide as 100% pro-choice.

2) Delegate Jim Gilchrist has not turned in a questionnaire and is not eligible for endorsement at this time.

3) Dan Campos is a 100% pro-choice candidate and we are confident that he will be an effective leader in Annapolis.

With the recent attacks on abortion in federal health reform, the U.S. Supreme Court retreating from the protections of Roe v. Wade and the addition of two justices hostile to choice under President Bush, more decisions about the right to choose will be left up to state government. The ballot measure passed in 1992 showed that Maryland was a leader in protecting reproductive rights and numerous legislators and community leaders were integral to that process. But the issue has not been "won" by any definition and dedicated pro-choice leaders are needed now more than ever.

Lastly, we have very limited staff and resources and unfortunately the website section on legislators has not been reviewed or updated in some time. It is not the Voting Guide. However, this is something that will be addressed immediately.

Thank you for your continuing support of women's reproductive rights.

Tracy Terrell
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC Chair