Planned Parenthood endorses Newark Mayor Cory Booker
In a small, crowded room in the Busch Campus Center, Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America endorsed Newark Mayor Cory Booker for the United States Senate.
“One in five women in this country have come to Planned Parenthood for health care at some point in their lifetime, and when they come through our doors they’re not coming to make a political statement,” Richards said. “They’re coming because they need access to affordable health care.”
Booker is facing off against Republican Party nominee Steve Lonegan, a pro-life advocate, in the U.S. special election for Senate to fill the empty seat following the death of Frank Lautenberg.
The endorsement was preceded by a speech by Omi Singh, a Bergenfield native and a graduate of The College of New Jersey. She is currently a student at Colombia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“Five years ago, as a high school student I found myself in need of reproductive health care, and I went to a nearby planned parenthood,” Singh said. “I was nervous, but the staff was friendly and informative.”
She said the workers at the center made her feel comfortable and gave her information about safer sex and birth control, which she needed to make important decisions.
Singh said she joined Vox, Planned Parenthood’s student group on campus, when she started college. Vox, helped her learn about her health and rights, which molded her into an educator and activist.
“Quality care should be accessible to all, and patients should be empowered to make their own decisions,” she said.
Roslyn Rogers-Collins, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey and, spoke at the event and his organization provides reproductive and wellness care and education to more than 30,000 residents of Essex and Passaic counties.
“As a health care provider in the city of Newark, I can tell you firsthand that mayor Cory Booker understands the importance of supporting women’s health, including affordable birth control, lifesaving cancer screening and protecting access to preventive care for nearly 3 million women and men who visit Planned Parenthood health centers all across the country,” Rogers-Collins said.
Richards said endorsing Booker is an important step to further women’s health and rights.
“It’s important to know why this is so important, why the choice is so clear,” she said. “It is a choice between Cory Booker, who has worked and will continue to work to make progress for women’s health and rights, and his opponent who will absolutely take women back more than 40 years in the state of New Jersey and across the country.”
Booker said he is excited about the endorsement and is ready to defend issues and opportunities that have been in place for a long time.
“When you champion women, when you champion women’s issues, when you empower women across this globe, you empower nations, you empower people, you empower communities,” he said.
Booker said his opponent, who is pro-life, wants to take women’s equality, empowerment and health care a step backward.
“There are folks like my opponent who think we should overturn Roe vs. Wade and make abortion illegal even in the case of rape and incest,” he said.
Booker brought up his management in Newark, and said children were educated about birth control and about making sure they knew they had the power to determine the destinies of their bodies.
“We planted the seeds not only of preventing diseases and the spread of communicable diseases, but we also planted seeds of pride,” he said.
When asked about his stance on the implications and possibility of military action in Syria, Booker said he is deeply skeptical about the use of force.
“My default position will always be pursuing with great alacrity [and] determination the pathway of peace, and right now I’m not convinced. … Military engagement is not the right way,” he said.
But he said he stands in the veins of New Jerseyans, who are war-weary.
“[They have] seen our country spend billions and billions of dollars in two wars, not only the money, but more difficult to deal with than that was the human lives and human sacrifice that went into those engagements,” Booker said.