Tag: pro-choice

The 2013 Pro-Choice Voting Guide

The New York State Board of Elections issued an opinion prohibiting 501(c)(4) organizations, such as WCLA – Choice Matters, from “endorsing” or saying we “support” a candidate. To comply, our endorsements will now be made by WCLA PAC.

WCLA PAC will make its endorsements based on the candidate ratings made by the Board of Directors of WCLA – Choice Matters. Any messaging must come from WCLA PAC. Therefore, WCLA PAC will be the voice used to comment and share information during this election season.

To that end, WCLA PAC will have its own website which you will be able to access through a link on Choice Matters’ home page or by going directly to: http://wclapac.org/ (It is still under construction!)

Donations
We need you to make a donation!
You can do it on the website or you can mail it to:
WCLA
235 Mamaroneck Ave, #103
White Plains, NY 10605

WCLA PAC will use the contributions for election-related items, such as to build out its website, political outreach and to mail, if possible, voting guides to those unable to access the web. For more information, call: 914.946.5363

Unfortunately, due to a lack of funds, I regret to inform you that Choice Matters and WCLA PAC are unable to mail our newsletter and yellow voting guide county-wide this year. Mailing the newsletter and voting guide out to over 80,000 Westchester residents costs $32,520. We were not able to raise that money.

We will put the newsletter and voting guide on our website. You can print it there.

Any additional dollars we raise will be used to mail out copies to those who do not access the web.

We know that this is a terrible loss. So many of us rely on the bright yellow ProChoice Voting Guide and newsletter arriving in our mailboxes every year. And so many of us do not have the  time or opportunity to use the web. Unfortunately, the power of the pro-choice vote will be greatly diminished on Election Day, November 5th.

Hopefully, with your help, we can start raising funds now for next year when New York goes to the polls to vote for Governor, all of the State Senate and Assembly, and for all the members in the House of Representatives!

What Zumba can teach us about healthy choices & reproductive rights

How many times have you been part of the handwringing conversation lamenting the lack of involvement in the fight for reproductive rights by a particular group of people –  the “why don’t _____ care” conversation? (Fill in the blank with whomever you want: young people, college students, young professionals.)

But isn’t that assuming it’s their fault, not ours? Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe we haven’t been thinking outside of our own little boxes.

The newspapers are full of articles about the decrease in the number of people who identify as “pro-choice,” but not in the number who believe a woman should have access to full comprehensive reproductive rights.

So, just maybe, we need to involve people where they are, not where we are.

Choice Matters has decided to take on that challenge — of reaching out and involving the pro-choice public that does not come out to marches and rallies, which results in them staying under the radar.

Choice Matters is hosting Cardio Dance for Choice with Zumba Fitness, on Saturday April 6th at the YWCA.

Why? Because people really do want to have a fun, and Zumba is the rage across the country, with women of all ages and demographics.

I invite you to look at our facebook page Cardio Dance for Choice with Zumba Fitness. Most of the people registered so far would never think of going to an event to hear a speaker or attend a rally.

We are focusing on where people are and they happen to be doing something that’s both fun and good for their health. Maybe that’s the key. After all, isn’t reproductive rights about healthcare and being able to make safe healthy choices?

But it won’t work without you!

We are the broke relative, the one willing to do the heavy lifting but without the funds to do so.

If everyone who reads this email contributed $25 we can make it!

Please click here and support this event.

If this event is as successful as it looks like it’ll be, we could do a Salsa dancing event later this summer, or a networking event at the new fondue restaurant in White Plains. We’re open to suggestions.

All I know is that if we are going to capture those that believe a woman should have access to full comprehensive reproductive rights, but don’t call themselves ‘pro-choice’, we must start thinking outside the box!

Contribute today! Let’s make it happen!

You Did It! We Did It!

Last night was a great night for Choice!

Choice Matters had one heck of a great night. With only two exceptions, every single one of our endorsed candidates won!

Our bright yellow pro-choice voting guide, the WCLA PAC get-out-the-vote calls, and the rides to the polls all came together to make the difference.

We are particularly proud of the role Choice Matters played in the victories in the 37th NYS Senate District where George Latimer was victorious, despite being outspent by historic proportions for a state race, and in the 93rd NYS Assembly District where David Buchwald defeated an anti-choice incumbent.

Choice Matters’ winning endorsements:

  • Barack Obama (President)
  • Joe Biden (Vice President)
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (U.S. Senator)
  • Gerald Loehr, Maria Rosa, Sandra Sciorino (NYS Supreme Court Justices, 9th Judicial District)
  • David Zuckerman (Westchester County Court Judge)
  • Eliot Engel, Nita Lowey, Sean Patrick Maloney (US House of Representatives)
  • Jeff Klein, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Ruth H. Thompson, George Latimer, David Carlucci, (NYS Senate)
  • Amy Paulin, Gary Pretlow, Shelley Mayer, Steve Otis, Tom Abinanti, David Buchwald, Sandy Galef (NYS Assembly)

Choice played a vital role in the election again this year. We found ourselves defending our right to use birth control, and were repeatedly told by anti- choice extremists such crazy notions like pregnancy by rape never occurs but when it does it is a blessing from God.

Our bright yellow voting guide again proved its power. All over Westchester you saw people carry Choice Matters’ bright yellow voting guide in with them to vote.

Our mailed voting guide is still the best way to ensure that people vote for pro-choice candidates. Please help us continue our work! Contribute.

Full results can be viewed here.

George Latimer vs. Bob Cohen – The Facts

David vs. Goliath
George Latimer vs. Bob Cohen
– The Facts –

George Latimer (D, WF) and Bob Cohen (R, C, I) are running for the open seat being vacated by retiring pro-choice Senator Suzie Oppenheimer.

Choice Matters’ endorsements are made solely on the issue of Choice. We have, however, received a significant number of inquiries regarding the State Senate race in the 37th district. Therefore, we are sharing additional information.

On the issue of Women’s Reproductive Rights:
George Latimer is 100% pro-choice.
George Latimer has worked to advance a reproductive rights and health agenda in the Assembly since 2004, including sponsoring the Reproductive Health Act and voting to ensure women have access to emergency contraception.

As an Assemblyman and former Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, Latimer has been an outspoken advocate for legislation that ensures access to vital health care services for women.
Bob Cohen is anti-choice.
Bob Cohen refused to stand up for even the most basic of needs, safe access to reproductive health clinics – despite repeated requests addressed to Cohen and to his campaign.
Cohen also refuses to tell the public his position on the Reproductive Health Act – a bill New York desperately needs to pass.
To get the facts, click here and read our piece titled “Bob Cohen is anti-choice!  NO if’s and’s or but’s about it
On the issue of New York State’s Fair Pay Act – Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation:
George Latimer is a supporter and voted in favor of its passage in 2011 and 2012. (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.06130).

Bob Cohen is silent on the issue. There is nothing on his website concerning the Fair Pay Act – Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation

On the issue of Cancer and Cancer Research:
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is the nation’s leading cancer advocacy organization. Its Cancer Votes initiative has produced a questionnaire to establish the candidates’ position on cancer. They distributed questionnaires but are not endorsing. (Click here to see the questionnaire.)
14 people are diagnosed with cancer each and every day right here in Westchester.

George Latimer returned his questionnaire promptly.

Bob Cohen was silent on the issue, refusing to answer the questionnaire despite repeated requests.

On the issue of Taxes:
George Latimer has
: 1. Voted to cut State Income Tax rates to the lowest levels in 58 years (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.40001); 2. Voted to eliminate the MTA Payroll Tax for over 25,000 small businesses, and all public and private schools (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.40002); 3. Sponsored legislation to eliminate the 1989 tax surcharge on home sales (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.307); 4. Sponsored bi-partisan legislation for full elimination of the MTA Payroll Tax (www.assembly.state.ny.us Bill Search: A.5616 and A.8193); 5. Cut taxes for 3 straight years (1998-2001) as Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (Westchester County Board of Legislators, 914-995-2800).

Bob Cohen has no voting record.
Click here for more information on the race and particularly tax issues,  The Hottest Race for the NYS Senate: George Latimer vs. Bob Cohen, by David Singer, 10/18/2012.
N.Y. Board: “Slumlord” ad against GOPer is accurate, Salon, by Jillian Rayfield. 10/19/2012.

Candidate Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice!!

Bob Cohen is anti-choice!  NO if’s and’s or but’s about it.

This man will say anything to get elected and that makes him the most dangerous kind of candidate there is.

Bob Cohen already has a history of turning his back on the women of Westchester.

In the spring of 2012, Choice Matters tried to give Cohen the opportunity to stand up for the rights of women. After all, he’d been a NYS Senate candidate in 2010 and was already campaigning for the newly redrawn 37th Senate district seat.

Choice Matters asked Cohen to submit a letter in support of the most basic right—the right to access reproductive health clinics safely, right here in Westchester, without fear of being kicked, grabbed, hit, physically menaced or blocked from entry. Cohen was non-responsive.

As many of you may remember, that proposed law had been carefully reviewed by the New York Civil Liberties Union to make sure that all first amendment rights were protected, and they were. All aspects of speech were protected, including prayer.

The proposed law — simply put — made clear that women should be allowed to access reproductive health care safely.

Choice Matters contacted Cohen’s campaign manager Matt several times. Matt even gave Choice Matters Cohen’s email address so we could contact him directly. And we did.

(Click here to see Choice Matters’ email to Cohen, to the address provided by his campaign manager Matt.)

Cohen never responded. Despite more calls to campaign manager Matt, Cohen refused to stand up for Westchester women.

Why was such a simple and easily satisfied request rejected?  Probably because Cohen has taken the Conservative Party line and the Conservative Party has merged with the extremist anti-choice Right to Life Party.  (We noted that on the cover of the last bright yellow 2011 Voting Guide.)

Cohen does not want the right wing of the Conservative Party to know he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth, making contradictory promises to opposing groups.

For further proof that Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice, we just need to look at his Choice Matters questionnaire and his interview responses for this 2012 race.

The Choice Matters questionnaire asks whether a candidate would make his/her support of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) a public part of his/her campaign.  (RHA is a bill that would bring New York’s abortion law into the 21st century.)  Cohen refused to answer the question!

When pushed in an interview to explain, Cohen said that he absolutely would not put anything about RHA on his literature, but if someone asked, he would tell them. Cohen is on the record in his questionnaire for not wanting to make reproductive rights part of his campaign.

Why? Simple. Because Cohen does not want to lose the votes of the extreme right, anti-choice voters of the Conservative Party.

Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice.

Imagine what Cohen has promised the Conservative Party — a party that has as key planks in its platform anti-choice and anti-gay  resolutions!! If Cohen cannot be public about his position on women’s rights, you can be certain that he will never stand up for us.

It is important to note that “Pro-choice” has become a marketing term in Westchester because Westchester voters vote Choice. And it is absolutely essential that Choice voters know who is telling the truth and can be trusted.

For example, Nan Hayworth ran in 2010 claiming she was “pro-choice.” But once elected, Hayworth became a favorite of anti-choice groups.  Hayworth currently boasts an 80% approval rating from the National Right to Life Organization; she has co-sponsored two of their bills, and, among other things, voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood.  That sure doesn’t sound like someone who is pro-choice to us.  Does it to you?

WCLA – Choice Matters’ mission is clear: “to keep abortion legal and to ensure that all women, regardless of age, race, class, status, geography or ability to pay, have full, unimpeded access to reproductive health care.”

We tell you the truth about the candidates because the women in our lives depend on us.

News Alert: There will be NO ProChoice Voting Guide This Year unless…

There will be no bright yellow ProChoice voting guide in your mailbox this election year unless we can raise $33,000 by September 30th.

The implications of this are huge, and all are negative for the pro-choice community.

Anti-choice candidates will win, and pro-choice candidates will lose, because you will not know one from the other.

Albany will not pass the Reproductive Health Care Act and all funding to Planned Parenthood could be cut — and that’s only for starters.
 
All because — for the first time since we began our mailing decades ago — you will not have received your ProChoice Voting Guide.
 
The most effective way to reach voters is the US Postal Service mail, not email.

Unfortunately, no one—not Planned Parenthood, not NARAL, not the League of Women Voters—mails guides anymore because it is simply too costly.

And emails are not the answer.
Some people receive hundreds of emails every week, and some even hundreds each day. But, where an email doesn’t stand out, a Bright Yellow Voting Guide in your mail does.

Until now, WCLA – Choice Matters has always mailed because it is THE BEST WAY to communicate with voters.

We have over 90,000 pro-choice identified voters in our database!

Pro-choice voters rely on our ProChoice Voting Guide. They grab it out of their mail, read it in the car, or while having a quick cup of coffee, or even as they go to vote. With real-life schedules that start long before dawn and go late into the night, many pro-choice voters have no time to access a personal computer. Click Here to Help Save the Voting Guide

And don’t forget our seniors. Pro-choice seniors are the population most likely to vote, by a large margin. Many do not use computers. They value the mail, specifically the mailing of our Bright Yellow ProChoice Voting Guide, easy to see and to hold.

That is exactly why — despite the ever-growing cost of postage and printing — we have fought to mail the ProChoice Voting Guide every year.  Every year it has gotten harder.  And every year we’ve had to struggle to live within our ever decreasing budget going from mailing three newsletters a year, to two, to just the Voting Guide, cutting them down from 24 pages to 16 to now just 4.  There is simply just no where else to cut – except the Voting Guide itself.

Choice Matters trumpets the truth in its guide. We endorse only those candidates who are 100% pro-choice — and we expose the imposters. We endorse candidates based on their answers to our questionnaire, interviews, voting records, and who is best positioned to help protect and advance a woman’s right to comprehensive reproductive health care.
 
It has always been difficult to fund the newsletters and voting guide — and every year it gets harder.

And make no mistake about it, this comes at a terrible time.  There is an all out war being waged locally and nationally against women and the rights that we have fought for all these years since we won the right to vote.  From attempting to legislate forced vaginal ultrasounds, to battles to deny women contraception, to the veto of the Clinic Access Bill here in Westchester, to Albany’s failure to pass the Reproductive Health Care Act – everything is on the line.  Remember, if they win, we lose. We lose our control over our bodies and with it our  independence, socially and economically. This election –  with the state, congressional and presidential offices all up for grabs –  may very well decide our fate for decades to come.

This is not a story of the boy who cries wolf. It is a sad fact for the women of Westchester County and New York State, and the country.  This year, without your help, there will be no Bright Yellow ProChoice Voting Guide in thousands of mailboxes all over Westchester. We Need Your Help

We need your contribution to save our voting guide. Please donate today to help us mail the voting guide to all pro-choice households in Westchester County.

Tuesday June 26th – A Very Important Democratic Primary

Pro-choice Congressman Eliot Engel is being challenged in the Democratic Primary by an anti-choice extremist.

An outspoken leader on the issue of women’s reproductive rights, Engel has been  endorsed by WCLA – Choice Matters and other major pro-choice groups.

After the onslaught of attacks in Congress, we must keep this seat in the pro-choice column.

**Many of you may not know it yet, but your congressional district may have changed because of redistricting which occurs every ten years after the census.

Call the Board of Elections (914) 995-5700 or Choice Matters (914) 946-5363 if you have any questions.

Hats Off to a Legend, Suzi Oppenheimer!

“Suzi Oppenheimer”
A Name Synonymous with Women’s Rights
New York State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer has announced that she will be retiring at the end of 2012.We—the women of this state—will miss her greatly!Suzi has been at the forefront fighting for the women of Westchester and New York State for almost three decades.Suzi has battled tirelessly against Senate anti-choice bills, making all women’s needs her concern. Her floor speeches in favor of Medicaid funding are legendary. She has fought annually for family planning and teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Choice Matters has been proud to endorse Senator Suzi Oppenheimer in every election since her initial run for the New York State Senate. In 1982, she came close, making Choice a focal point of her campaign; in 1984 she closed the deal with the voters.

In 1984, when she ran against anti-choice Perone, Suzi made her position on government’s proper role in abortion clear, saying, “Government has no more right to decide whether a woman may have an abortion than it has the right to tell us where we can’t live, whom we can’t marry, or what religion we can’t practice.”  She stressed the need not only to protect our freedom of choice, but to protect the safety of abortion as well. “Abortion has been with us for thousands of years, and no law will stop it now. Since the Supreme Court has already affirmed the right of a woman to choose abortion, it is now our duty not just to protect that right, but to protect the health and safety of all women who do decide they must have an abortion.”

Suzi, we hold our glasses high in a toast to you.

You have set the bar very high, and we thank you for that too!

 

Westchester Residents Beware – Astorino’s Version of a Reformer

DISTRICT #3 has elected a truly ETHICALLY-CHALLENGED representative.
His name, and Astorino’s hand picked candidate who he labeled a reformer, is Michael Smith.
(Makes you question what kind of reform Astorino is looking for!!)

It is essential that as we move forward voters keep a very sharp eye on Smith.

Yes, Smith opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman.

In addition, Smith has a very questionable history at best. He seems willing to do anything to win. Nothing is off limits. 

To win this election, Smith ran ads about Legislator Nonna that were intentionally misleading–that’s not just our opinion but the findings of the non-partisan Fair Practices Campaign who found him guilty. Smith also apparently ran an equally offensive and untrue recorded phone call to voters on Election Day to scare them into voting for him. And that’s just the beginning.

Smith, as Board President of Valhalla School Board, actively supported and fought for a contract
the New York State Controller found to be illegal as did the New York State Supreme Court.

Printed on the Valhalla Voice website, November 2, 2011
“Mike Smith’s record speaks volumes”

“As a taxpayer in the Valhalla school district I am still amused that Mr Smith is running as a tax cutter. He is anything but. In his first 3 years on the Valhalla BOE spending rose 21%. The increase one year before had been 8.8% so where were the cuts?

He is now opposing the $1 a year county lease for the children’s museum, but never opposed Valhalla’s $1 a year Easter Seals lease, the district lost $2.4 million on that deal.

When state auditors shut down the illegal Westhelp scam, Mike Smith voted to sue his own town to restart the illegal payments. He had no problem spending school district money on:

  • Matching Grants to the Valhalla Schools Foundation even though it is illegal to fund private foundations with government money.
  • Two full time salaries for Kensico School Principal
  • Pay his own expense at a private school
  • Donations to Easter Seals, another private foundation.
  • Summer trips to the Grand Canyon
  • Trips to the opera
  • Dinners at trendy NYC restaurants
  • Adult Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center
  • Ocktoberfest at Bear Mountain
  • A moonlight booze cruise on the Hudson 

Despite Mr. Smith’s denials to the contrary, the Booze Cruise was on his watch, in August of 2006
Here are quotes from the 2008 NY State audit of Mike’s Smith’s Valhalla school district finances:

“District officials did not maintain complete and accurate accounting records to facilitate the proper and timely monitoring of the WestHELP Grant. As a result, of the approximately $1.7 million expended for the Grant, approximately $456,000 was not expended in accordance with the Grant agreement, proposals or applicable laws”

“The [Valhalla] Board did not provide sufficient oversight over District financial operations”

“The District overpaid for the Business Administrator’s life insurance premiums by $38,500”

“Internal controls over payroll were not adequate”

“The District did not have adequate controls over the payroll process”

‘District officials did not implement an effective system of internal controls to safeguard computerized data’”

Smith has proudly said that he stands by the contract. That illegal support will now cost Valhalla School District residents over a million dollars. Smith’s willingness to stand by a clearly illegal contract should worry Westchester residents.

Meet Westchester’s Own Pro-Choice Male Brigade!

We Must Protect Our Rights and Westchester
by Electing Strong, Independent Leaders! 
Meet Westchester’s Pro-Choice  Male Brigade!!

DISTRICT #2
Bedford, Lewisboro, Mt. Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge & part of Somers.
Peter Harckham was first elected to the County Legislature in 2007 and has served as Majority Leader for the past two years. Harckham has proven himself to be a  strong ally who is able to work across party lines to build consensus without compromising the very values for which he was elected. Harckham is also endorsed by the NYS League  of Conservation Voters. His opponent promises to be a Yes-Man for Astorino and oppose sex ed and contraception for teens!
–DISTRICT #3
North  Castle, Pleasantville & Unincorporated Mt. Pleasant & parts of Briarcliff Manor, Sleepy Hollow and Unincorporated Greenburgh.
John Nonna has distinguished himself as a great legal mind and a friend to Choice. As a true public servant throughout his career—currently as a County Legislator, and previously as Mayor, Trustee and Judge—John Nonna has stood up for women’s rights.  Nonna’s opponent is an anti-choice extemist, seeking the Right to Life Party endorsement and opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman!In addition, Nonna’s opponent has no experience in government.
–DISTRICT #4
New Castle & parts of Somers & Yorktown.
Mike Kaplowitz has proven himself to be a strong supporter of the pro-choice community. His position as Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman made Kaplowitz keenly aware of the role the County plays in the fight to protect women’s reproductive rights. That understanding has served the women of Westchester well.  Kaplowitz’ anti-choice opponent is endorsed by Right to Life  Party and opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman and supports a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage.
–DISTRICT #5
The Village of Scarsdale & part of Harrison & part of White Plains.
Bill
Ryan has been an active and vocal advocate for Choice since his early days in the NYS Assembly. In his first campaign for the County Legislature, he pledged to continue fighting for a woman’s right to choose and he has done so without fail. Ryan has “more faith in women making the right decision for themselves than in government making it for them…” and believes, “a woman’s right to choose is absolute and should not be subject to legislation.” Ryan also serves on the Large Urban County Caucus in the National Association of Counties He is one of 35 county officials representing over 140 million people, living in the 100 largest counties in America, on matters before the federal government. Ryan’s opponent, although rated pro-choice, will not commit to supporting the clinic access bill that protects women as they enter and leave reproductive health centers. She says she’s a novice whose ideas are still cooking—but in reality, she has been politically active for years and served on Astorino’s transition team. Choice Matters’ choice is Bill Ryan!


New Pro-Choice Voices for the County Legislature!
–DISTRICT #1

Buchanan & parts of Yorktown, City of Peekskill & Unincorporated Cortlandt.
Michael Kane is a strong voice for reducing the size of county government responsibly. His commitment to women and families makes him particularly aware of the importance of childcare to working mothers, thus, his refusal to cut childcare funding irresponsibly because “every dollar cut from childcare costs Westchester taxpayers $3 more in food stamps, $5 in welfare, and $20 in shelter costs [because irrational childcare subsidy cuts force working women into unemployment.]” Kane’s anti-choice opponent is a rubber stamp for RTL Astorino’s anti-family anti-woman agenda.
–DISTRICT #6

Rye Brook, Port Chester, & part of Harrison.
Daniel Brakewood is committed to women’s reproductive health. As a current Port Chester trustee, Brakewood has proven himself to be an independent voice for his constituents. In contrast, Brakewood’s anti-choice opponent has said, even in his own literature, that he will be a [guaranteed] vote for [RTL] Astorino. That is not independent! Choice Matters endorses Daniel Brakewood.
–DISTRICT #10
Tuckahoe & Unincorporated Eastchester, & part of New Rochelle.
John Fitzpatrick
has served the people of Westchester as Mayor of Tuckahoe for two terms, Village Trustee, Planning Commissioner and Police Commissioner. He has made environmentally sustainable initiatives a trademark of his administration. He is pro-choice, fiscally conservative and an advocate for housing. Fitzpatrick’s opponent who is endorsed by the Right to Life Party, is an extremist who opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. She also supports a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage.