Candidates dispute anti-choice designation by WCLA

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WCLA — Choice Matters, formerly the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion, put out its 2012 candidate endorsements Wednesday, supporting Democrats across the board for the first time, according to its president, Catherine Lederer-Plaskett.

But a few of the designations of Republicans as “anti-choice,” caused some confusion because in the past they had gotten the “pro-choice” imprimatur.

Both Bob Cohen, who is running against George Latimer for state Senate in the 37th District, and Joe Carvin, who is taking on Nita Lowey for Congress in the 17th District, consider themselves abortion rights supporters, according to their spokespeople.

But Lederer-Plaskett said supporters of abortion rights by her definition support all the rights granted under Roe v. Wade. Carvin, she said, has said he supports a so-called partial birth abortion ban and does not believe abortion should be available after 20 weeks.

“We believe that you can’t be a little bit pro choice,” she said.

“Joe Carvin is pro-choice, but with exceptions,” said Jessica Proud, his spokeswoman. “He does not believe in late-term abortions other than in the case of a medical emergency. He and his wife have a beautiful and vibrant daughter who was born at 24 weeks, and that very much affected his opinion of fetal viability.”

WCLA labeled Cohen “pro-choice, not endorsed” two years ago when he ran against incumbent Democratic state Senator Suzi Oppenheimer. But Cohen lost the designation after Lederer-Plaskett reached out to Cohen’s campaign earlier this year to ask him to send a letter of support on Westchester County legislation tightening provisions on protesting outside reproductive health clinics.

“He was nowhere to be found,” she said.

And on WCLA’s candidate questionnaire, Cohen didn’t answer the question on whether he would support the state Reproductive Health Act, which would codify a right to birth control and abortion, Lederer-Plaskett said.

Bill O’Reilly, a spokesman for Cohen, disputed the anti-choice label, saying, “Bob believes women should always have the right to choose on matters of reproduction. He has been consistently clear on that.”

“To call Bob Cohen anything but pro-choice is simply inaccurate,” O’Reilly said. “We don’t mind partisan groups endorsing their own candidates, but spreading misinformation is neither appreciated nor a public service.”

Here is the full list of WCLA endorsements.

Photo: Joe Carvin

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  2. in congressional races in westchester and surrounds you cannot hedge on the issue of roe vs wade you either support it or you don’t…carvin’s attempt to parse positions will not help him
    unseat nita lowey ..it will hurt him ….cohen on the other hand is pro choice..period whether
    or not he singned any collateral petitions is nonsense…