Friday was Women’s Equality Day and elected officials and advocacy groups took advantage of the occasion by holding a news conference on Geraldine Ferarro Way in Forest Hills to denounce S.J. Jung for his stance on abortion. State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing), Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) and Government Affairs Manager for Campaign for Pro-Choice New York Emily Kadar all shared their views on the Democratic candidate for state senate.
At a Tuesday night debate at the Queens Library in Flushing, Jung and current state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), who are facing off against each other in the primary, were given the opportunity to ask each other one question. Stavisky framed her question around the fact she is the first woman to be elected to state senate from Queens County. She asked Jung’s stance on abortion.
“This is such an important issue, allow me to be clear: I would not support abortion unless it threatens the health of a pregnant woman. That’s the only exception that I can think of. This is a very serious issue. You know, we pretend to know everything, but I completely disagree. Life is still a mystery,” Jung responded. “So I will not support a woman’s choice.”
Jung clarified his point of view by saying he would passionately advocate for other women’s rights, such as equal pay.
“I’ll passionately advocate for women’s rights, for example I’ll be a strong advocate for equal pay for equal work,” Jung said, adding that his opinion on abortion is based on personal beliefs rathern than politics.
The main issues in Queens, according to Jung, are quality of life and corruption in Albany.
The speakers at the Forest Hills conference shared emotional thoughts about the realities of a world where women are forced to take a risky course of action in the face of unexpected pregnancy due to rape situations.
Koslowitz used vivid imagery to explain the experiences of women prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Roe vs. Wade.
“S.J. Jung is out of touch,” Koslowitz said. “I go back a long time to the days when if a woman wanted an abortion, you couldn’t get it. And if she needed it, she had to go to a sleazy place and have an abortion with a hanger. Maybe he doesn’t know about this, and he’s out of touch.”
Many of the speakers felt it was especially unfitting for Jung to succeed Stavisky with such views toward abortion because of the incumbent’s status as the first female from Queens elected to state Senate.
Additional remarks were issued by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, the New York State Women’s Equality Party and the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall