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Monday, September 18, 2006

NARAL dumps Rell, backs DeStefano

Gov. Rell's decision to support Catholic hospital's refusal to provide the Plan B pill to rape victims results in her losing the support of a major wonen's group.
Traditionally, a leading abortion rights group would endorse a socially tolerant, female governor who supports abortion rights and who is leading in the most prominent poll by 32 percentage points. In fact, the NARAL political action committee endorsed Republican M. Jodi Rell when she ran for lieutenant governor and for the state legislature.

But this year is different.

On Friday, the group endorsed New Haven Mayor John DeStefano after expressing disappointment in Rell and her running mate, former state Rep. Michael Fedele of Stamford.

In one of the most controversial issues at the state Capitol this year, Rell opposed forcing Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims. The Catholic hospitals opposed a bill to change state law, saying their religious beliefs would be compromised if all state hospitals were required to provide the morning-after contraceptive pill that is known as Plan B. Despite approval by the budget-writing appropriations committee, the full House and Senate never voted on the bill.

Rell's position on Plan B was a critical factor in causing her to lose NARAL's endorsement.

"That caused us a lot of concern because that was our priority issue this year," said Carolyn Treiss, NARAL's executive director. "She wasn't there for us."