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Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion
2018 CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE
Governor of New York State
1. Regarding abortion rights in general:
a) Abortion should be legal only to save the woman’s life and in cases of rape or incest. NO
b) I consider myself pro-choice, but I think there should be government limit beyond those set by Roe v Wade. NO
c) Women should have autonomy over their bodies and their pregnancies. Birth control and abortion should be accessible to all women without restrictions. YES
d) Abortion is a public issue to be decided by the people through their elected representatives. NO
e) Absolute confidentiality should be guaranteed to every woman who has an abortion. YES
2. Do you support embryonic stem cell research and, if so, what you would do to promote it?
I support embryonic stem cell research, including human ESC research. I will speak up in favor of it against any effort to limit it. I favor New York State continuing to fund ESC research. I support the federal government ending its refusal to fund research using human ESC lines developed after 2001, which since 2009 is being done by administrative decision, not by presidential orders, legislative acts, or judicial rulings.
3. Regarding mergers of religiously affiliated and nonsectarian hospitals and HMOs:
a) I oppose mergers of nonsectarian and religiously affiliated hospitals and HMOs in which church-run entities require the elimination by partners or affiliates of abortion, contraception, tubal ligation, vasectomy, infertility, and other reproductive health services. YES
b) I would support a bill requiring the state health commissioner to certify that necessary health services are preserved in the community before the Public Health Council approves a hospital merger. YES
c) I would support a bill requiring the state health commissioner to make available to the public, at least 30 days prior to state action, all information about pending hospital mergers and other health care facility transactions in order to allow local community involvement in these decisions. YES
d) I would work to ensure that patients’ access to full reproductive services is not compromised by allowing institutions, such as hospitals and managed care plans, to utilize “conscience clauses” to refuse to provide services. YES
e) I would oppose a bill that allowed religious managed care plans and employers to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. YES
4. Explain your understanding of the Domestic Gag Rule, how it would impact NYS, and what you would do to address its impact.
The Domestic Gag Rule is a regulation proposed by the Trump administration to prohibit health care providers — including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers — that receive Title X funding for reproductive health care for low-income patients from providing birth control, preventive care, or abortion referrals, and to require providers to refer women with unwanted pregnancies to foster care or adoption agencies. It will undermine the funding of Planned Parenthood and support the proliferation of medically unqualified “pregnancy crisis centers.”
If the Trump administration follows through on its gag rule proposal, New York should join other states in suing to stop it. It should support congressional legislation to reverse the rule. Once this fight is opened up, we should fight to repeal the long-standing global gag rule that prohibits federal funding for non-governmental organizations around the world that provide abortion counseling or referrals or advocate decriminalization of abortion. If the domestic gag rule does take effect, New York State should fill the funding gap for Title X reproductive health services.
5. Explain your position on sexuality education in public schools, including abstinence-only curriculum.
I oppose an abstinence-only curriculum. New York State’s policy recommends one semester in middle school and one semester in high school of sexual health education. Thousands of students do not receive even this bare minimum. Most young people first learn about sex from the Internet or their peers, often getting wrong and harmful information. I support New York State requiring that a comprehensive, medically accurate, and age-appropriate sex education curriculum be taught in grades 1 through 12 in all public schools.
6. Regarding potential judicial nominees: Would you check to see if a judicial candidate had prior RTL Party/Committee endorsements? If the candidate did have prior RTL Party endorsements, what would you do?
I do check to see if a judicial candidate has Right To Live endorsements. I vote against them and urge others to do the same.
7. Would you sign any legislation that would limit or delay abortions for unemancipated minors (e.g. requiring parental involvement with judicial bypass)? NO
8. Would you support any state-run or -administered programs that provide prenatal care to exclude abortion? NO
9. Would you increase funding for family planning in each budget? YES
10. Do you support Medicaid family planning waivers for those at or below 200% of the poverty level? YES
11. Would you sign into law legislation requiring a woman to undergo the following before receiving an abortion:
a) Receive state-written materials describing fetal development. NO
b) Receive state-written counseling about the risks of abortion and alternatives to abortion. NO
c) Wait for a specified period of time. NO
d) View a sonogram image of the fetus. NO
e) Undergo a mandatory psychiatric evaluation. NO
12. Would you actively support legislation requiring medical institutions that receive public funds for medical training of residents to offer training in reproductive health care, including abortion? YES
13. Do you support the state providing birth control and prenatal health services to immigrants regardless of documentation? YES
14. Do you support criminal penalties for harm to a fetus (separate from any harm to the woman?) NO
15. Would you sign a law permitting pharmacists to refuse to dispense medications that conflict with their religious beliefs, such as EC (emergency contraception)? NO
16. Do you support the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act in the State of New York, which was established by executive order and includes the coverage of key preventive services like contraception without a co-pay? YES
17. Do you support legislation to defund Planned Parenthood? NO
18. Do you support the passage of the Reproductive Rights Disclosure Act? YES
19 a.) Do you support the passage of the Reproductive Health Act which would strengthen New York State’s laws to reflect current medical practices and to protect women’s health and safety? YES
b.) If yes, will you make your commitment to its passage a public part of your campaign? YES
c.) If you should win this election, will you fight for its passage even if that means publically opposing members of your own party? YES
19. Do you support making New York State a reproductive rights sanctuary state? YES
20. What is your opinion of the U. S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby?
The decision is a violation of the public’s civil rights. Any business in the public market place should not be permitted to exempt themselves from laws or regulations or to discriminate against women. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court permitted Hobby Lobby, as a “closely-held private business,” to exempt itself from a federal regulation implementing the Affordable Care Act mandate that required employee health care plans to cover contraception for women. I support congressional legislation to reverse this injustice.
21. Please explain your understanding of the role the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) played/plays in NYS government, and what the IDC’s role is moving forward. Did you support the IDC in the past? Do you believe the IDC played a damaging role in the potential passage of the Reproductive Health Act and/or the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act and/or the 10- plank Women’s Equality Act. Please discuss the occasions in which the Democrats were in the majority in the NYS Senate.
The IDC Democrats enabled the Senate Republicans – even during a nominal Democratic majority in the state Senate in 2013-2014 – to rule the state Senate and determine what legislation was brought to the whole body for a vote. The Reproductive Health Act, the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, and many other pieces of progressive legislation were not passed by the state Senate as a result of the IDC/Republican coalition that governed the state Senate from 2011 to 2018. The IDC/Republican coalition also kept the leader of the Democratic Conference, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, from participating in the “four men in a room” negotiations over state budgets. I always opposed the IDC. I think and hope it will be impossible to re-organize after this year’s elections, but if it does try to re-emerge, I will oppose it.
22. Will you make your support of reproductive rights a campaign issue against your opponent? YES