Women’s groups slam IDC Leader Klein

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo took aim at the Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference Friday, and the pressure on the four-member breakaway group has continued to build.

A local pro-choice group, Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion, sent an e-mail to supporters Friday criticizing IDC Leader Jeffrey Klein, who represents the Bronx and parts of Westchester County. The message said accused Klein of blocking a vote Cuomo’s women’s agenda for one of two reasons: “It is either because he’s chicken, or because he has simply lied to all of us!”

The e-mail continued:

“Klein is aligning himself with the Republican extremist Dean Skelos with whom he has chosen to share power. And rather than stand up for women, Klein is marching in lock step with anti-choice, right-to-life zealot Skelos. He would rather stand with Skelos than with the women of New York—and by so doing, Klein is supporting an anti-choice agenda.”

The coalition of women’s groups that is pushing Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act is set to release a television ad in Klein’s district urging him to force a vote.

Tracey Brooks, CEO of Family Planning Advocates, also turned up the pressure on the IDC, saying on “The Capitol Pressroom” on Friday that if the group’s members blocked a vote, they would feel a backlash at the polls next year.

“You can point your fingers in six different directions, but everybody knows who is responsible for this, and in 2014, you will see that,” said Brooks, whose group is the lobbying arm for Planned Parenthood. “There is no reason we need to get into a 2014 contentious election cycle when, in fact, there are people sitting in that conference ready, willing and able to take this vote if the leadership of the IDC stood up and paved the way for them.”

An IDC spokeswoman on Friday called Brooks’ comments “bizarre” and “unfortunate.”

“Effective advocacy involves persuading your detractors, not attacking your supporters,” Victoria Sarmiento said in a statement. “We hope Ms. Brooks can persuade more senators to take our position on choice, but until she does, her point is unfortunately moot.”

Here’s the TV ad from the women’s groups:

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