Which Fourth Congressional District Democratic Candidate Is The Most Pro-Abortion?

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/08/21/which-fourth-congressional-district-democratic-candidate-is-the-most-pro-abortion/

Eight Democrats hope to be Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III’s successor in the U.S. House of Representatives, and they all favor loosening federal abortion law and taxpayer funding for abortions.

Even so, candidates’ priorities differ, as do their approaches to certain issues. That leaves room for debate on which of the eight Democratic candidates running to replace Kennedy in Massachusetts Fourth District is the most pro-abortion. With that in mind, here is a look at where they all stand on the issue.

Jesse Mermell

Jesse Mermell has work experience in the abortion industry and endorsements from abortion advocacy groups. The Brookline selectman and former advisor to Deval Patrick also served as the executive director of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus and the vice president for external affairs at Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. In this election, both Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and NARAL Pro-Choice America have endorsed her.

On Mermell’s campaign web site under the “on the issues” section, “reproductive health” appears second — below only health care.

At the federal level, she wants to codify Roe v. Wade into statutory law; repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal tax dollars from paying for abortions; eliminate funding for crisis pregnancy centers; restore Title X funding to organizations that make referrals for abortions; and end the Mexico City policy, which prevents federal funding for non-government organizations that promote or perform abortions abroad.

Additionally, Mermell is a strong supporter of the proposed ROE Act bill at the state level. During the summer she said her team made 4,000 calls in one week advocating for the bill to be passed. It would eliminate most restrictions on third-trimester abortions in the Bay State and no longer require doctors to provide life-saving care to a baby born alive after an attempted abortion — or even to have life-saving equipment in the room.


Jake Auchincloss

The campaign web site of Jake Auchincloss’s list of priorities (titled “On the issues”) features “reproductive health” second, as it does for Mermell.

Like Mermell’s agenda, Newton city councilor Auchincloss’s includes supporting Title X, ending the Mexico City policy, eliminating the Hyde Amendment, and continued foreign aid to Israel.

While Mermell wants to codify Roe v. Wade at the federal level, though, Auchincloss’s agenda calls for codifying the ROE Act at the federal level — as well as the state level, although the U.S. Congress would not have control over state legislation. The proposed ROE Act bill is actually more sweeping than Roe v. Wade, because it would remove restrictions from late-term abortions and expand government funding of abortion, features the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision didn’t provide.

Auchincloss’s agenda also says Auchincloss “will support Senators who will vote for pro-choice federal judges,” though it doesn’t explain how he will support them.


Becky Grossman

Becky Grossman, who is also a member of the Newton City Council— leaves little doubt on her campaign web site where she stands on abortion restrictions.

“Politicians have absolutely NO business interfering with, or dictating, very personal decisions about reproductive health – a woman’s choice is between her and her doctor,” Grossman’s web site states.

Her site lists four abortion priorities:  ending the Hyde Amendment and Mexico City policy, getting Title X funding for abortion providers, and codifying Roe v Wade into federal law.


Chris Zannetos

Chris Zannetos, a Wellesley resident who has created software companies that provide cybersecurity and other services, has a statement on his campaign web site that “Chris believes that women, not the government, should make decisions that affect their own bodies.”

His agenda lists only one abortion priority:  repealing the Hyde Amendment.


Ben Sigel

Ben Sigel, a Brookline resident and former civil litigation lawyer, categorizes his abortion views under “Economic Opportunity And Mobility” on his campaign web site

Sigel wants to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law, repeal the Hyde Amendment, and provide Title X funding to abortion providers. 

Sigel’s site doesn’t mention the word abortion once, but it says, “Women must be able to possess the respect, rights and resources to make their own decisions about their own bodies.”


Natalia Linos

Natalia Linos, a Brookline resident and the executive director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard, addresses the topic slightly differently from the other candidates, using some gender-neutral language when addressing the issue on her web site.

“No person should be denied access to sexual and reproductive health care and information or the ability to make decisions about their own bodies,” her web site says.

The language appears to provide wiggle room to include biological females who identify as something other than female but nevertheless become pregnant.

On abortion more explicitly, the web site says Linos wants to codify Roe v. Wade into federal law, repeal the Hyde Amendment, and reserve the Mexico City policy. 


Ihssane Leckey

Ihssane Leckey, a democratic socialist, former Wall Street litigator, and current Brookline resident, is the only candidate in the race who has expressed publicly a personal connection to abortion.

Leckey says she got an abortion illegally when she was 17 in her native country Morocco.


Leckey has tweeted in support of the ROE Act bill and, like many of the other candidates, her campaign web site says that she would like to repeal the Hyde Amendment. It also says she would like to protect Planned Parenthood’s funding; Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million a year from the federal government.

Unlike other candidates in the race, however, Leckey also calls for repealing the 1973 Helms Amendment (known formally as the Helms Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961), which states that no foreign assistance funds “may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”

This provision applies to foreign aid the United States applies to other countries. Because of the Helms Amendment, had abortion been legal in Morocco when Leckey had hers in the early 2000s, none of the foreign aid that the U.S. government gives to Morocco could legally have been used to pay for it.


Alan Khazei

Alan Khazei, a Brookline resident who serves as one of 11 commissioners on the Federal Commission on Military, National and Public Service, has a high profile endorsement from someone in the pro-abortion movement:  Karen Mulhauser, former executive director of the National Abortion Rights Action League (also known as NARAL).

Similarly to Linos, Khazei’s campaign web site uses gender-neutral language when discussing abortion.

“He believes that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is one that each pregnant person should be able to make, together with their family and doctor, and that this is not a decision to be put in the hands of politicians,” the web site states.

Khazei’s web site says that he supports Roe v Wade, repealing the Hyde Amendment, and increasing funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion services. 

Additionally, it says that Khazei wants to expand education programs to destigmatize “women’s health and wellness issues.”