NEW YORK—On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood of New York’s Political Committee announced it was backing New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in the city’s mayoral race. But Planned Parenthood could have endorsed any of the frontrunners, according to pro-life groups working in the city. Quinn had earlier won the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice New York.
Pro-life voters don’t have an alternative to Quinn among the frontrunners, either Democrat or Republican. Both Republican frontrunners, Joe Lhota and John Catsimatidis, are pro-abortion. Catsimatidis has said Republicans should “drop” the abortion issue. And the other Democratic frontrunners—Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio—are pro-abortion, too (although Thompson has the least extreme record of the pro-abortion Democrats). Only one candidate is vocally pro-life, but he hasn’t even registered in the mayoral polls: pastor Erick Salgado.
Quinn, long considered the favorite in the race to replace New York’s three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has actively expanded protections for abortions in a city where almost 40 percent of pregnancies end in abortion—a rate nearly double the national average. She proved “key,” according to Planned Parenthood, in integrating what the organization called “abortion care” into OB/GYN training in the city. She launched a program to train volunteers to escort patients into abortion centers called the “Clinic Protection Program.”
On Tuesday, Quinn said she would provide Plan B, an emergency contraceptive that can cause abortions, to middle schoolers “if the data shows us that that is what would be most helpful.” The other Democratic contenders didn’t weigh in. Lhota, the Republican frontrunner, called the idea “ridiculous,” and Catsimatidis, Lhota’s closest contender, said he would require parental consent. New York already doles out free Plan B at public high schools, without parental consent.
Planned Parenthood, in announcing its endorsement of Quinn, trumpeted her role in passing legislation that requires crisis pregnancy centers to post signs saying whether they offer abortion or abortion referrals. CPCs would face fines for not posting the signs. A district judge halted the law, and the case is now pending before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. (See “Pregnancy centers ‘deception.’”)
In the late spring some pastors hosted a mayoral forum in the Bronx, and asked the candidates about the city’s regulation on pregnancy centers. Most of the candidates didn’t seem to know what regulation the pastors were talking about. (Quinn wasn’t present.) The candidates said that pregnancy centers should have the freedom to post signs disclosing what they believe, which is not what the signage regulation addresses.
De Blasio, Quinn’s current rival, falls into line with her on abortion. He supports the law targeting CPCs and promised that if courts struck it down he would work to pass new regulations on pregnancy centers.
He and Quinn also spoke in support of the Reproductive Health Act, the New York state legislation that would have expanded the legality of late-term abortions and removed certain criminal penalties associated with botched abortions. That bill failed in the state Senate but could appear again.
Pro-life groups in the city look at the mayor’s race as “bleak,” as one worker put it. They are concerned about the expansion of the laws targeting CPCs and the expansion of the “morning-after” pill to young teenagers. They are also worried about rumors of a new regulation that would create a buffer zone around abortion centers, restricting the area to only patients and employees.