Opinion

IDC mailer makes false claims about Planned Parenthood support

By Joan Malin |  

June 29, 2017 |  

Over the past week, many New Yorkers received a misleading and inaccurate mailer from the group of New York state Senators who are members of the Independent Democratic Conference. The mailer makes it appear as if Planned Parenthood has endorsed IDC members.

New Yorkers deserve to know the truth: this mailer was sent without Planned Parenthood’s knowledge or consent, and uses Planned Parenthood logos without permission. It also falsely claims that the IDC members helped pass key legislation to improve access to reproductive health care, including the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA) and the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) when, in fact, these bills were never even brought to the floor for a vote this session.

These mailers also mislead constituents by implying electoral support from Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts (PPESA) for IDC members. PPESA is a 501c(4) organization that advances public policy to increase access to reproductive health care, and does not endorse elected officials or parties. Endorsements are made through distinct and separate entities. Misusing the Planned Parenthood logo undermines confidence and integrity in this endorsement process.

Planned Parenthood IDC mailer
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The IDC claims to support Planned Parenthood and our patients, but the fact isthey have stood in the way of every reproductive health bill in the state Senate. This summer, we rallied unprecedented support for the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act and Reproductive Health Act. We brought patients, providers and volunteers to Albany multiple times to bravely share their stories. We tirelessly called our senators, urging them to vote yes on these bills, especially in the face of very real federal threats.

We, and our supporters, were disheartened to watch another Albany legislative session end without these bills coming to a vote. IDC members did nothing to advance the Reproductive Health Act and Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act to the floor, despite these bills having bipartisan sponsorship and support. Yet the mailers falsely imply that IDC members successfully passed both bills. These mailers, sent only days after the legislative session ended, are blatantly dishonest.

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If that’s not enough, the mailer claims the IDC has invested in Planned Parenthood when a couple of months ago, every member of the conference refused to vote for a hostile budget amendment protecting Planned Parenthood funding – even though we’re at risk of being defunded by the Trump administration.

New Yorkers won’t be fooled. We know that the IDC has chosen to caucus with the anti-reproductive health leadership of state Senate Republicans and block commonsense legislation that would improve access to contraception and protect access to abortion. And we won’t stand by while the IDC tries to use our organization’s name and the issues that so seriously impact our communities to gain political support.

The IDC’s dishonest tactics are shameful. Our health care cannot come secondary to Albany’s political games.

New York state’s legislative session has ended, but our fight is far from over.

If our state senators are serious about their commitment to improving health, protecting reproductive rights and investing in Planned Parenthood, the time to act is now. Next year, our state senators are up for reelection, and we will continue to communicate with voters to make sure they know where their senators really stand on reproductive health and rights. With the unrelenting attacks from Washington, D.C., it is more important than ever to keep constituents informed about the IDC’s deceptive political games.

Joan Malin is the president of Planned Parenthood NYC Votes.

Correction: A previous version of this op-ed incorrectly referred to a "bill" protecting Planned Parenthood funding that IDC members refused to vote for. It was actually a hostile budget amendment introduced on the Senate floor by state Sen. Roxanne Persaud during an April 4 budget hearing. 

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