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Abortion rights leaders back Trivedi—and one bashes Pike

Abortion rights leaders back Trivedi—and one bashes Pike

Prominent advocates for abortion rights came out in support of Democrat Manan Trivedi on Friday, and one of them took a swipe at 6th District primary opponent Doug Pike over past writings by the longtime columnist and former Inquirer editorial writer.

Trivedi was endorsed by the National Organization for Women’s political action committee, a powerful force in Democratic politics. “Manan Trivedi has demonstrated to us that he will stand up for the full equality of girls and women,” the group’s chair Terry O’Neill said in a statement. “We are looking forward to joining forces with him in that pursuit.”

The Reading doctor also won the backing of Kate Michelman, the former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who went after Pike in an interview with Politico, specifically citing what she called “disturbing” things Pike wrote about women in the past.

Taken together, the developments briefly reignited a primary debate over abortion that originally flared up late last year, when Pike used a op-ed to call himself the only “publicly” pro-choice candidate in the race. They also underscored the fact that, rightly or wrongly, Pike’s political opponents can try and use his large boy of written work against him.

“Whether Pike says he’s pro-choice or not,” Michelman told Politico, “I as a woman would not trust that he understands and respects the fundamental rights of women in a way that will result in his standing for and protecting those rights.”

She was referring in part a 1988 column in The Inquirer in which Pike said the abortion rate should “turn the stomachs” of those who supported the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, as well as his 1990 column supporting the reelection of state Representative who he also called a “zealous opponent of abortion.” She also cited two articles Pike wrote for The Orlando Sentinel in the 1980s, including one in which he said that the “best looking women … tend not to identify with have-nots. … Why are women who look like models virtually incapable of developing the compassionate liberalism of, say, stubby Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland?”

Pike campaign manager Andrew Eldredge-Martin told the Web site that “Doug Pike has been publicly and proudly pro-choice in his writings for 19 years and as a candidate for Congress has been rated 100 percent pro-choice by NARAL Pro-Choice America. For anyone to suggest that Doug has not been consistent in his pro-choice views is nothing more than an effort to mislead voters.”

He added that Pike has not used abortion “as a litmus test for supporting candidates,” and referring to the Orlando Sentinel columns, Eldredge-Martin said that “over 20 years ago, Doug made a poor attempt at humor in a column. He regrets it and apologizes.”

The latest emphasis on abortion came 11 days before the contours of the primary showdown between the two candidates have largely been defined, with Pike enjoying an overwhelming money advantage while Trivedi boasts support from the majority of the local party establishment.

Trivedi added another party figure to that list Friday, with an endorsement from state Representative Kathy Manderino (D-Montgomery).

“Having served on the Health and Human Services committee in the state legislature, I can tell you that Pennsylvania will benefit by having the unique perspective of a doctor serving them in Congress on important matters like continuing the work of health care reform,” Manderino said in a statement.
In these final days before the primary election, I will be encouraging undecided voters in the 6th congressional district that a vote for Manan Trivedi is in our best interest.”

The two are competing for the party’s nod to take on Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-6). The race is currently ranked No. 6 in the Congressional Power Rankings.

May 7, 2010 at 11:59 am

--Dan Hirschhorn

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comments [14] | post a comment

  1. Adam B.

    May 7th, 2010

    May I translate?

    Doug Pike has been publicly and proudly pro-choice in his writings for 19 years.

    “Doug Pike supported pro-lifers in print before 1991, and we hope no one finds anything else.”

    You can’t support Stephen Freind and call yourself pro-choice.

  2. Kevin Shaw

    May 7th, 2010


    Why did you choose to lead this with the headline “Abortion Rights leaders”?

    This argument is not about abortion. It’s about families being allowed to decide for themselves when it is appropriate for them to have children. It’s about privacy. It’s about women’s health and the economic security of their families.

    But just keep repeating that shibboleth and keeping the rabble roused and someday you can join Doug Pike in Kate Michelman’s list of guys that just don’t get it.

  3. PA06

    May 7th, 2010

    Abam B. please remind everyone you DO NOT EVEN LIVE IN THE DISTRICT. After the primary you’re going to sink away in the nothingness of the netroots. Why not just do that now and let the real citizens and voters of this district support or oppose a candidate.

  4. Dan Hirschhorn

    May 7th, 2010

    Hey Kevin,

    Can you explain a little more specifically what’s wrong with that characterization of the folks who endorsed Trivedi today? I’m just not sure I understand the precise substance of your objection to the language.


    Dan Hirschhorn.

  5. PA06

    May 7th, 2010

    wow, that’s why primaries just suck. that kind of bullshit. Can I also say, this is the same thing conservative evangelicals do, a candidate could have a great resume and support great ideas, but if they’re pro-choice that’s a non starter with them. Here we go on the liberal side of the debate, a journalist supported a candidate with a pro-life ideal and some how that makes that journalist pro-life or not pro-choice. I fail to see that logic. And when would abortion ever come up in congress in a capacity that Doug Pike wouldn’t support a woman’s right to chose? Let’s be real everyone.

  6. Adam B.

    May 7th, 2010

    I live in a comfortably Democratic district in Philadelphia represented by a reliable pro-choice Congressman in Bob Brady. I don’t see what my living in Philadelphia has to do with the truth of what I said. I also find it ironic to have someone claim that online politicking is “nothingness” … in an online political forum.

    Abortion comes up in Congress repeatedly — the so-called “partial birth” ban, the Stupak amendment, the Mexico City policy and lord knows what’s next.

  7. Kevin Shaw

    May 7th, 2010


    I don’t live in the district either, but I want to see as many good people get elected to Congress as possible.

    If you don’t think one Congressperson in some far-off district can have an effect on YOUR life, I’d suggest you Google Bart Stupak.

  8. Jake

    May 7th, 2010

    I think this is a bad argument for Democrats in this district to have. Trivedi’s profile would be very appealing to a lot of Indy and Rep voters in the district, but many of them will be turned off by this kind of pro-choice squabble.

    I’m a Manan supporter, but I worry any too extreme movement to the left will hurt him in the fall.

  9. Butcher

    May 7th, 2010

    Manan makes money off of performing abortions

  10. Its Just Wrong

    May 7th, 2010

    Its Just wrong to Glorify the Killing of Babies

  11. Kevin Shaw

    May 7th, 2010


    As I said, this discussion should not be just about abortion. When you frame it that way, you narrow it down to a hot-button issue that over-simplifies and diminishes the overall concept of reproductive freedom.

    It’s interesting that the same people that are most vocal in their efforts to make abortion illegal are often the same ones that support capital punishment and wars of choice, and cutting programs that protect the health and safety of children and young adults. They are not pro-life, only pro-birth.

    Adam B. brought up the so-called partial birth abortion ban. A misnomer if there ever was one. The procedure was developed to remove a dead or dying fetus in one piece instead of the old method of chopping it up and removing it in pieces. The point being to provide a family with a body to mourn and bury after fully expecting for some months to add a child to their family. Look up the signing ceremony for that bill. You’ll see a photo of a few old, white men gathered around a table, making medical decisions for hundreds of doctors and patients that should be left up to the doctors and patients. You’ll see our old buddy Rick Santorum in that picture, grinning like the Chesire Cat. Interesting that he later waxed poetic over having exactly the same opportunity to hold his still-born child that he deprived so many other women of.

    And that’s the point. Why are we treating a medical procedure as a political football? Why is this even a part of our electoral discourse. It’s a damned medical procedure that should be left to a family and the medical professionals it chooses.

    As far as why it’s necessary, we need to discuss the situation of women in our society. They often find themselves pregnant under less than desirable circumstances. Not just teenaged or poor, but perhaps abandoned or ill. Due to societal pressures, women don’t always have a choice about when they will have sex.

    So, until we can stop framing the issue as just abortion, we will fail to appreciate the small role it plays in the bigger picture of women’s rights and their freedom to control their own reproductive organs.

    If you want government out of your wallet, start by keeping them out of your gynecologist’s office.

    Gotta run. We can chat more at a later time.

  12. Adam B.

    May 7th, 2010

    Also, if you look at Doug Pike’s endorsements page, he’s proud to list folks outside the district as supporters … and last month begged for the endorsement of the very netroots which “PA06″ now disdains.

  13. No One

    May 7th, 2010

    I am a conservative and a pro lifer, but for groups to complain about Pike endorsing a few pro life candidates when he was a paper’s editorial board writer is crazy. Whiel i agree there is some liberal bias in the media i would say there is incumbent bias. Pike’s Job was to look at the candidates, he said this incumbent is doing good for his district or working in bipartisan fashion ect., which for a newspaper is more important than pro life v pro choice. The inquire endorsed Chris Smith last year, so I guess NARAL must not protest the current editorial writers. I think they endorsed all incumbents except Rob Andrews because of his dbag move of having his wife run and drop out to hold the seat becuase he lost in the Senate primary.

    and Kevin when the former head of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws endorse a candidate i don’t see what wrong with the head abortion rights leader back. Thats like saying I am the former head of the Alfcio BUT DONT CALL ME A LABOR LEADER

  14. Cholly

    May 7th, 2010

    here we gooooo, abortion starts such debate among dems, and is a waste of time. Focus on meaningful issues. Education, small biz investment, anything but this bullshit. It splits the parties and leaves dems exposed to the wind of the GOP smear campaign. DROP IT NOW.

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