Westchester exec race: Bramson, Astorino trade charges on abortion

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Though abortion is rarely a county issue – the major exception recently in Westchester being legislation on clinic access – Noam Bramson, the Democrat challenging County Executive Rob Astorino, has made it a major part of his campaign and a central part of his argument that Astorino is too conservative for Westchester.

And Astorino has begun rising to the bait, putting his wife in a campaign ad saying the issue has nothing to do with being county executive and running others with women telling Bramson he should be “ashamed.” Now part of the conversation has turned to each side’s true position on the divisive issue.

In a recent interview, Astorino accused Bramson of supporting abortion through nine months without restriction because of his support of the abortion plank of the 10-point Women’s Equality Act. The act was considered by the state Legislature this year but died when the Senate failed to pass the abortion provision. Opponents of the law, including the New York State Catholic Conference, have said allowing abortions to protect the health of the mother after 24 weeks, as the legislation would have done, creates too broad an exception because health is undefined.

Astorino equated Bramson’s position with infanticide.

“To me that’s outrageous,” he said.

The Bramson campaign said Astorino’s statement insults the large majority of his constituents who supported the law’s exception for the health of the mother.

“This disgusting and inflammatory statement from Republican Rob Astorino brands the overwhelming majority of his constituents as supporters of ‘infanticide,'” said his campaign spokesman, Barry Caro. “His statement makes clear that he doesn’t respect the views of the vast majority of the people living in Westchester County, who support the exact language of the Women’s Equality Act.”

The current New York abortion law, which is in the penal code, allows abortion up to 24 weeks or to protect the mother’s life. Roe v. Wade superseded the law, requiring an exception for the health of the mother. The new law would have codified that language, which proponents said was necessary in case Roe was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Catholic Conference’s position was that the bill expanded the right to abortion and went well beyond Roe, establishing it as a fundamental right not subject to regulation.

In the interview with The Journal News, Astorino also said the other side had mischaracterized his position on abortion. The Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion PAC, which endorsed Bramson, has said Astorino opposes abortion in all cases. But Astorino said it should be allowed in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life.

“I have always said it’s an extremely difficult choice,” he said.

In 2012, Astorino vetoed clinic access legislation passed by the Westchester Board of Legislators, saying it would violate the free speech rights of protesters. Supporters of the bill said it was needed to protect patients from intimidation.

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11 Comments

  1. Ms. Ganga, if you are going to continue as a “political reporter,” you need to learn to compare apples to apples, not apples to sh**. Interview the candidates and quote the candidates statements, not those of some hack campaign manager.

  2. Regardless of your position on abortion, all sensible and decent human beings should draw the line at abortion after the first trimester unless the mother’s life is at risk. Bramson is a disgrace.

  3. Last time I checked Bramson was the candidate that decided to make an abortion a front and center issue in the election for an office that has no policy making authority on the issue. We’re still getting bombarded with mailers on this and Bramson’s other “cr*p” issue, gun control. But then if you have no record to run on, I suppose the only strategy is to keep asking the equivalent of “so Mr. Astorino when DID you stop beating your wife”.

  4. Bramson has a deplorable record on which he cannot run. Abortion in a county race? WHO CARES. Please…if you want to do political reporting, stick to the applicable issues. Caro is Bramson’s mouthpiece, and apparently his brain. Leave the uterus and the guns out of the race for a county MANAGEMENT position. It is alllllll about the money, baby. Bramson could not manage his way out of a paper bag, so all he can do is whine about “what’s not OK in Westchester”…and those are the words of a Tyrannical megalomaniac.

  5. Bramson can cut County taxes by up to 20% by simply reviewing the list of Westchester County employee hired in the past 3 years and then firing all of the political cronies, friends and family that Astorino has installed in the past 3 years in place of the 500 County Employees who retired 3 years ago with the help of NYS incentives during the fiscal crisis to reduce the burden on taxpayers. Instead of passing the savings along to taxpayers, Astorino hired back cronies, friends and family just enough to have a minimal tax increase and now he is telling taxpayers that he’s doing a great job because he hasn’t raised taxes by much. Westchester taxpayers are not stupid but they need to pay attention!

  6. Why are we discussing issues in a County Executive race that the winner of the race has no real say in? Why is Bramson bringing up abortion? To divert the attention away from the real issue, his record as Mayor of New Rochelle where Mayor Bramson has suffercated the residents with tax increases year after year. This race is not about abortion, it is about how much money you can keep in your pocket. County Executive Rob Astorino has a proven record on not raising taxes during his term, that is what I want to hear about.

  7. openforum, you’re statement is pure fantasy and delusional.

    btw, there’s less politcal patronage now than when Andy Spano was CE.

    And why did the Independence Party endorse Bramson? Because Astorino REFUSED to give them patronage jobs. They will look to Noam for jobs if he gets elected. I’m sure he’d be happy to comply.

  8. Is abortion even a county issue? Not really sure why we’re even having a conversation about something the county executive has little to no say on. Not really sure why Bramson would want to legalize late term abortions either. Probably better to leave our laws as they are.

  9. To bill

    Review the list yourself before you talk. It is undeniable that over 500 County Employees retired and the savings in salaries and benefits could have resulted in up to a 20% tax reduction. It is not true that patronage is less now than under the prior administration.

    Are you saying that taxpayers have to pay for cronies and patronage??

  10. Who on earth did you think Astorin was going to hire after he got elected? Strangers he just met? No he’s going to hire the people he knows will get the job done. That was right after he fired all of Spano’s hacks.

    I’m sure Noam will hire strangers & call it job creation. lol

    And don’t you know why the Indendence Party endorsed Noam, because Astorino wouldn’t hire any of them 3 years ago.

    And you know the reason Spano got thrown out right? High property taxes and Noam’s not going to be able to help with that issue, just look at New Rochelle’s finances. There a total disaster and Bramson’s the reason.

    Guess those layoffs helped balance the county budget dont you think? How else would taxes go down?

  11. What bill?
    He ought to have hired people with expertise in municipal management and finance with credentials and track records. Instead he stole the savings from the retirement of over 500 civil service employees to hire inexperienced cronies. Check yourself. He appointed a Budget Director with only one year of unrelated municipal experience and then a Deputy Budget Director with absolutely no municipal experience. Why wouldn’t he hire people with experience and credentials in municipal budget and finance? In the middle of a fiscal crisis wouldn’t a prudent County Executive be looking for people from Harvard, NYU, or Pace Univ with a track record? Don’t the overtaxed residents of Westchester deserve the best expertise for the taxes they pay? All they get is cronies paid for by the savings from retirement that should have been passed along to the taxpayers.

    We know that you know better but also that you are probably one of the cronies!