Suozzi’s Choice

NARAL New York President Kelli Conlin sent out a letter today chastising Tom Suozzi for his alignment with anti-abortion lawmakers like former Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin, who endorsed Suozzi in March.

From the letter:

We realize you have already dismissed NARAL Pro-Choice New York as just another “special interest group.” But when you write us off, try to think of the millions of New Yorkers who we strive to represent. When you write us off as part of the “establishment,” as if that’s a four-letter word, try to think of the many Americans you’re insulting. And when you tie yourself to an anti-woman, anti-health and anti-choice public figure such as James Griffin, try to think of the mixed signals you are sending New Yorkers.

Capitol Confidential reported last week that Suozzi will skip the upcoming Democratic State Convention in Buffalo, where he would probably not gain enough support for a place on the primary ballot in September, and is instead planning a “people’s convention” with Griffin.

Full text of the letter after the jump.

—Nicole Brydson

Honorable Tom Suozzi
Friends of Suozzi
P.O. Box 112
Carle Place, N.Y. 11514

May 2, 2006

Dear County Executive Suozzi,

We have seen recent reports that, in lieu of attending the Democratic State Convention in Buffalo, you are planning an alternative “people’s convention” with former Buffalo Mayor Jimmy Griffin. We are deeply troubled by this. In the past we have said that you are trying to have it both ways in the debate over women’s reproductive health. But as you continue to embrace Mayor Griffin, we wonder if you’re just having it one way – and that is against the right of a woman to control her own reproductive health.

In the past, you have not supported late-term abortions, even when the health and life of the mother is at risk. And you have not said you would sign the access to emergency contraception bill, even though it would dramatically reduce unintended pregnancies and prevent the need for abortions in the first place.

Your enthusiastic acceptance of Jimmy Griffin’s endorsement only confirms our mistrust. In case you somehow are unaware of Mayor Griffin’s record on the issue of reproductive health, here’s a brief primer: In addition to the political corruption you rhetorically denounce and the homophobia you supposedly are against, Jimmy Griffin, who first was elected mayor on the Right-to-Life Party line, has a long record of trampling on women’s rights. In 1992, Griffin, who had an “Abortion Kills Children” sign in his office when he was mayor of Buffalo, said protesters of the radical right-wing organization, Operation Rescue, would be treated with compassion if they descended on Buffalo. As you must remember, that invitation caused an invasion of thousands of anti-choice activists, inciting violent riots, arrests and property damage. As if this were not enough, in the days after Dr. Barnett Slepian’s tragic murder in 1999, this same terrorizing organization that Griffin welcomed with open arms into his city declared that anti-choice activists should once again descend upon Buffalo to somehow justify Dr. Slepian’s murder.

We realize you have already dismissed NARAL Pro-Choice New York as just another “special interest group.” But when you write us off, try to think of the millions of New Yorkers who we strive to represent. When you write us off as part of the “establishment,” as if that’s a four-letter word, try to think of the many Americans you’re insulting. And when you tie yourself to an anti-woman, anti-health and anti-choice public figure such as James Griffin, try to think of the mixed signals you are sending New Yorkers.

We urge you to renounce the support of Jimmy Griffin and clarify your positions once and for all in this critical debate.

Sincerely,

Kelli Conlin
President