Women’s rights groups endorse Gennaro for Senate

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Representatives from NARAL Pro−Choice New York, the Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund and New York ChoicePac Monday threw their support behind City Councilman James Gennaro (D−Fresh Meadows), who is challenging state Sen. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose).

“Jim’s opponent, Frank Padavan, has among the worst records in our state when it comes to reproductive rights,” said NARAL Pro−Choice New York President Kelli Conlin outside Gennaro’s Fresh Meadows headquarters. “Padavan has consistently voted against women’s health care and is extremely out of touch with New York’s pro−choice values.”

Asked for his reaction, Padavan disagreed, saying he has “done many things to assist women that relate not only to their health, but also educating their children.”

Padavan identifies himself as “generally pro−life.”

“I acknowledge the need for exceptions, like with rape victims,” Padavan said.

Gennaro and Padavan traded barbs, with Gennaro saying Padavan has a “radical anti−women, anti−health, anti−choice and anti−children record,” while Padavan accused Gennaro of “political demagoguery.”

“At this point in the campaign, they’re getting desperate, and they’re reaching out for issues that resonate but don’t,” Padavan said.

Gennaro criticized Padavan for voting against Senate Bill 3661 in 2005, otherwise known as the date rape bill. The bill, which passed the Senate and Assembly but was vetoed by Gov. George Pataki, would have allowed women to receive emergency contraceptives from registered nurses and pharmacists instead of just physicians.

“It’s a very dangerous drug,” Padavan said of the emergency contraceptives. “It could do you a lot of harm.”

Padavan added that he voted for the emergency contraception bill in 2003, which gives rape victims access to the contraception.

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D−Whitestone), who was at the Monday conference along with state Assemblywoman Ellen Young (D−Flushing), said she had endorsed Gennaro because the councilman had a “pro−women record” that includes securing $1.7 million for a mammography unit for Queens Hospital Center and sponsoring a law creating a domestic violence fatality review advisory board.

Padavan said he expects to receive support from women in his district.

“The United Federation of Teachers has endorsed me, and there’s a lot of women there,” he said.

Updated 6:40 pm, October 10, 2011
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