by Martha Robertson for the September edition of the Tompkins Weekly “Democratic View”
Are you among the millions of Americans who are outraged by recent decisions of the Supreme Court? It wasn’t that long ago when Republicans railed against “judicial activism. Now they cheer when the Court overturns 50 years of precedent, stealing away people’s autonomy over our own bodies and our very futures.
The Court said the freedom of half the population should be “up to the people,” that is, subject to political whims and elections. OK, people, so it’s up to us to roar back our answer.
VOTE. Vote Democratic, because you cannot trust Republicans with your human rights.
The evidence? Since the Court overturned Roe in June, Republicans have been on a tear to pass the most restrictive, anti-freedom laws they think they can get away with. On the other hand, where GOP candidates now find themselves facing general election voters – not just Republicans in primary races – they are scrubbing their websites and hoping they can fool voters into forgetting their previous pledges against women’s bodily autonomy.
Or they’re energetically trying to dodge the question altogether, like the Republican candidate in our own State Senate race. I cannot find a word about his position on this profound issue of basic freedoms for people who can get pregnant.
You can trust Congressional candidate Josh Riley and State Senate candidate Lea Webb. Both are proud champions of people’s right to autonomy and agency over their own bodies and their lives. They understand that repealing Roe relegated most of us to second-class citizenship. They will stand up with us and for us in New York, to preserve and extend the rights we have here, and to embrace people from other states who need abortion care.
Before the August 23 primary, Lea Webb’s commitment to this issue earned her the enthusiastic endorsements of Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC and Eleanor’s Legacy, the premiere statewide organization dedicated to electing prochoice women. Recently Lea proudly joined Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and other prochoice women running for office in Broome County to denounce Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposed nation-wide abortion ban. Their call to action: make reproductive freedom a top priority.
Of course, freedom from politicians meddling in our bedrooms is only one reason to support Lea Webb for State Senate. Lea’s record of accomplishments is impressive and her deeply-held commitment to serving the community is inspiring. In her working class, union family, she grew up to believe that we have a moral obligation to make sure everyone has access to the resources they need, from birth. Public service is a central part of Lea’s life’s journey.
Born and raised in Binghamton, Lea spent eight years on the Binghamton City Council, leading on issues such as affordable housing and support for first-time homebuyers, workers’ rights, youth employment, and passing a ban on fracking. Since being term-limited on Council, she’s been an educator at Binghamton University, providing diversity, equity and inclusion programs for faculty, staff, and students. An organizer for the Southern Tier Women’s Equality Coalition, a founding board member of Local Progress, and a trainer with the national group Vote Run Lead, Lea is always finding ways to serve.
Lea will be the first to say that she didn’t achieve these accomplishments alone. She is a team player, building coalitions toward real solutions that have impact for the people she serves. This is the leadership style she’ll bring to Albany.
Voters recognized these strengths when they gave Lea a resounding win in August, by almost 22 points over her primary opponent, across all three counties of the district. She recently secured new endorsements from NYSUT, the AFL-CIO, and NYS Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. Lea will be a fighter for us on the big issues that voters care about – climate action, common sense measures to reduce gun violence, an economy that works for everyone, and – back to where I started – reproductive justice.
Most of the issues we’re called on to consider are reversible if the next election goes another way. Not abortion. If you get a tragic diagnosis of a serious health complication that threatens your life or health, or if you learn later in a pregnancy about a very serious fetal diagnosis, or if you have an ectopic pregnancy or incomplete miscarriage, you and your doctor can’t wait for an abortion ban to be overturned. When families are making difficult, personal, medical decisions, politicians have no place in the room.
Our constitutional rights are for keeps. Make sure you get out and vote, for Democrats Lea Webb, Josh Riley, and the entire Democratic ticket. The Supreme Court asked for it, after all.
Early voting is October 29 – November 6. Go to www.votetompkins.comfor all the details.