Planned Parenthood of New York City is taking a pass on endorsing incumbent state Senators Ruben Diaz Sr. and Pedro Espada Jr. in the Bronx, opting to support their respective challengers, Charlie Ramos and Gustavo Rivera.
“Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. represents neighborhoods that have some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and STD transmission in the city, yet Diaz has consistently opposed every piece of legislation aimed at addressing these issues,” said Matthew Traub, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Action Fund, in a statement.
The group is also mailing against Diaz, with a story from one of its young activists who says she had an awkward encounter with the senator in an elevator at the capitol, during a lobbying trip to Albany.
“Senator Diaz Sr. must have known I was with Planned Parenthood from the t-shirt I was wearing with the logo and asked me how such a pretty girl could volunteer with Planned Parenthood,” she writes. “I was speechless! I mean, what would you say if a State Senator asked you that?”
The letter (in full below) is one of three pieces of mail the group is sending on behalf of Ramos.
In Espada’s case, the group blames his party-hopping last summer for derailing the Reproductive Health Act.
“Instead of voting to protect the women of his district, Espada selfishly put his own personal goals and lust for power first,” said Traub. “We are proud to endorse Gustavo Rivera’s promised leadership over Pedro Espada’s neglect.”
Traub called both challengers “100% pro-choice.”
It’s unclear how reproductive rights play into the politics of the borough–where Diaz has been proudly anti-progressive on issues like same-sex marriage for years–but another set of activists working and mailing against the senators certainly doesn’t help their cause.