To whom it may concern:
First and foremost, congratulations on the NOW PAC endorsement. It is certainly great news for Pennsylvania that NOW PAC has endorsed someone other than Bob Casey, Jr. for US Senate. I would like to know Mr. Sandals' current position on parental notification and consent for abortion. According to an interview with PoliticsPhilly.com (http://www.politicsphilly.com/...) on August 1st, Mr. Sandals stated the following:
My view is to recognize the traditional Roe v. Wade approach. The hardest question, and I appreciate it more now being a father, is how to deal with situations where a parent would appropriately want to know, for all the best reasons, if some procedure were going to be done for a daughter who is a minor. But the laws in most states correctly say that if the minor has reason to fear that there will be some physical violence or some emotional repercussions, then there must be ways to get consent without parental involvement. Limited parental notification and consent requirements are about the only condition or qualification that I would think is appropriate [emphasis my own].
Recently, I have heard rumors that Mr. Sandals' position on parental notification and consent for abortions has changed. Is he no longer in favor of "limited parental notification and consent requirements?" If this is the case, I find it quite troubling in light of the NOW PAC endorsement. My immediate assumption would be that Mr. Sandals changed his position in order to curry favor with NOW PAC. While I approve of Mr. Sandals as a pro-choice candidate, I am concerned about his susceptibility to special interests. If this is all bogus, please correct me. I'll be happy. But if he changed his mind on this issue--on any issue--because an interest group offered him money and publicity, then who knows where his allegiances are. Will Mr. Sandals change his mind when ExxonMobil, Citibank, or Alcoa offers him money?
Alan Sandals responded to my letter; unfortunately, he evaded its primary intent. While I am extremely grateful that he composed a thoughtful, personal 700 word letter for me in one day's time--if only our current elected representatives were so prompt--I remain irked by his dodging of my abortion question. The third sentence of my letter read as follows:
I would like to know Mr. Sandals' current position on parental notification and consent for abortion.In fact, the obvious intent of my letter was asking whether or not Sandals changed positions on parental notification and consent for abortion to obtain the NOW PAC endorsement. Sandals did not mention the words "parental, notification, consent," or "abortion" in his letter...Argh! However, Sandals does state that:
[he is] willing to accept contributions from non-business PACs, such as issue advocacy groups and labor and other non-business associations, whose positions on the issues are consistent with [his] own positions.The only problem is that NOW's position on parental notification and consent for abortion is inconsistent with Sandals' stated position. According to Sandals (August, 2005):
Limited parental notification and consent requirements are about the only condition or qualification that I would think is appropriate.According to Washington State NOW:
Laws which pressure young women to carry pregnancies to term are dangerous...Even with judicial by-pass provisions, parental notification laws in other states have caused up to an 18% increase in 2nd trimester abortions due to the delay of telling a parent or going to court. Other states with by-pass provisions have experienced arbitrary and unfair decisions depending on which judge heard the case. Some judges granted all requests and some judges granted none.So, if Sandals' position on parental notification and consent for abortion is inconsistent with NOW's, why did he accept NOW PAC's contribution? Perhaps he flip-flopped on consent to appease NOW? This seems the likely case, given the statement in today's Philadelphia Inquirer that Sandals:
does not favor a parental-notification requirement. He said it would endanger some girls who did not "know how to navigate" the judicial system.
NOW PAC might also have chosen Sandals over Pennacchio--who has similar positions but a much stronger grassroots following here in Pennsylvania--because Pennacchio refuses all PAC money, while Sandals refuses some PAC money. The worry here is that Sandals, unlike Pennacchio, is willing to roll over for PAC endorsements and cash. Sandals claims that he won't accept PAC money from PAC's whose positions are inconsistent with his own, but this post seems to show otherwise.
Anyway, Alan Sandals' letter is posted in its entirety on my blog, The Cajun Jew, because this diary is too long already. Give it a read; it's a good letter. Don't get me wrong, Sandals would be an excellent alternative to Casey--definitely not as good as Chuck Pennacchio--but I do find the circumstances surrounding his NOW PAC endorsement to be suspect.