By Rich Daly
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
NARAL is backing Joe Sestak in today's high-profile U.S. Senate race with Arlen Specter. Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Lois Herr is endorsed by the National Women's Political Caucus in her bid to unseat Joe Pitts in the U.S. House.
WASHINGTON (WOMENSENEWS)--NARAL Pro-Choice America has jumped into today's marquee Democratic primary by endorsing challenger Rep. Joe Sestak for the U.S. Senate nomination over incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, who is endorsed by President Barak Obama.
"The difference between Joe Sestak and Arlen Specter is that voters can count on Joe Sestak to be consistently pro-choice," said Ted Miller, director of communications for NARAL Pro-Choice America, based in Washington, D.C. The organization tracks Republican and Democratic elected officials.
The leading pro-choice organization said Specter, who switched parties last year over doubts he would survive a Republican primary, had a mixed record on abortion rights compared to his rival.
The organization also sees its Sestak endorsement as consistent because it endorsed him in both his previous races for the seat he holds in the House of Representatives.
Specter earned 100 percent and 90 percent in 2007 and 2009, respectively, on NARAL's congressional abortion rights scorecard. Sestak earned 100 percent ratings in both years.
In 2005 Specter, who describes himself as pro-choice, scored a low 20 percent on the NARAL scorecard by voting against a budget amendment to improve women's access to contraception and by supporting four anti-choice candidates for the circuit court of appeals nominated by President George W. Bush.
The Sestak-Specter race has tightened in recent weeks with Quinnipiac University polls finding Specter with a mere two-point advantage (44 percent to 42 percent) on May 12. In early April Specter was polling with a 21-point lead.
In another Pennsylvania Democratic primary race on May 18, Lois Herr, is once again challenging Rep. Joe Pitts to represent the socially conservative 16th District. She has won the backing of the National Women's Political Caucus, the bipartisan pro-choice group in Washington, D.C.
Pitts was one of the authors of an amendment to a version of the national health care overhaul that would have banned federal taxpayer funding of elective abortion. Pitts has again raised the abortion issue in recent weeks by introducing the Protect Life Act (HR 5111) that would establish a ban on federal funding for elective abortions in any private or public health insurance program.
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