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Jones Slams Lawler’s Positions on Reproductive Freedom

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By Michael Gold

Mondaire Jones, the leading Democratic candidate for this year’s 17th Congressional District race.

“Mike Lawler is an extremist. He will take away your rights,” Mondaire Jones, Democratic candidate for New York’s 17th Congressional District, told a sold-out fundraising event at the Jacob Burns Film Center last Monday evening.

The comments were made following the screening of the documentary film “Deciding Vote,” about reproductive choice.

Lawler (R-Pearl River) is “okay with what they’re doing,” meaning the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, in terms of abortion and other issues, Jones said.

Jones linked the recent Alabama Supreme Court’s decision to essentially prohibit in vitro fertilization through the use of stored embryos to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision that stated the constitution does not provide women the right to an abortion.

“The Alabama Supreme Court decision depends on the Dobbs decision,” Jones said. “This is what happens when you have men regulating women’s bodies,” Jones told the audience.

Lawler has stated that he does not support efforts to establish a national abortion ban, either through Congress or through the courts.

“Let me be clear: I am personally pro-life, while also supporting the right to an abortion in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in jeopardy,” Lawler wrote in a lohud.com opinion article in 2022.

Lawler stated in December 2022 that he opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to hear an upcoming case which would restrict the use of mifepristone, the so-called “abortion pill.”

“I do not support any efforts to establish a national ban on abortion, whether it be through Congress or through the judicial system,” Lawler wrote. “A federal law revoking a woman’s access to mifepristone would violate the rights of state representatives and the people who elect them to make these decisions,” he wrote.

In response to Jones’ comments, Chris Russell, spokesperson and campaign strategist for Rep. Lawler, who will likely face Jones in this year’s congressional race, wrote in an e-mail, “The facts are clear: Congressman Lawler has always opposed a federal abortion ban, has safeguarded IVF services, and enhanced access to contraception.”

Russell is the principal of Checkmate Strategies, a Republican communications and campaign consulting firm.

Emily’s List, a political action committee that helps to elect women pro-choice Democrats to office, states on its website that Lawler, “voted to pass anti-choice legislation in one of his first acts after being sworn in to Congress,” and “voted for Mike Johnson for Speaker of the House, an extremist who co-sponsored a total national abortion ban, to criminalize doctors for providing health care, and opposed protections for contraception.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) website stated that House Republicans, including Lawler, “passed two bills that chip away at women’s constitutional freedoms and attempt to deny them access to essential reproductive health care. These measures would use federal funds to spread misinformation and prevent vulnerable communities from seeking essential health care. The first of these was even endorsed by the extreme, anti-choice National Right to Life Committee, an organization that advocates for a national abortion ban.”

One bill, HR 6918, seeks to fund anti-abortion counseling centers by diverting funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Rep. Lawler unquestionably stands against reproductive freedom, and in Congress he has voted for legislation that would put doctors at risk of prosecution and spread disinformation about abortion,” the Emily’s List website states.

Edie Falco, “The Sopranos” actress who lives in the 17th Congressional District, told the crowd that “a far-right supermajority of the Supreme Court lets politicians decide healthcare for half the country’s population. The fallout is beyond devastating. In Ohio, women are facing criminal charges for miscarriages. Trump is bragging that he killed Roe v. Wade. He killed my soul.”

“We’re at a pivotal moment in our history,” Falco said. “A minority of extremists are trying to impose their will on the majority.”

In an interview after the event, Falco told The Examiner, “I’m a mother. I have two kids. It makes my heart race.” The actress concluded by saying, “I’m hoping for a return to some sanity.”

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts Robin Chappelle Golston warned that conservatives want to ban contraception next.

“The opposition is not tired. We have to keep fighting,” Golston said.

“Deciding Vote” centers on Auburn, N.Y. Assemblyman George Michaels’ vote in 1970 to legalize abortion in New York, even though he said he knew it would end his political career.

The highlight of the 20-minute film was Michaels’ speech to the Assembly, in which he stated, “What’s the use of getting elected and re-elected if you don’t stand for something?”

Jones said a national abortion ban would be enacted if the Republicans sweep the White House and both houses of Congress this November. A federal abortion ban “would preclude New York State abortion law,” he said.

Jones noted the “existential nature of this election. Trump says there will be a bloodbath if he’s not elected. People are trying to undermine our democracy and trying to undermine women’s healthcare decisions.

“Our project is to defeat fascism this year,” Jones said. “The stuff they’re (the Republican Party) doing isn’t even conservative.”



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