Not Buying Carney is a Moderate Centrist

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To the Editor:

Re “Carney Responds to Claims on Abortion, the Environment and Guns,” by State Rep. Devin Carney, R-Old Lyme (OP-ED, Oct. 18):

Maybe you, too, have seen the billboards with angelic baby faces along Route 1 and Route 145. They’re the fine work of Birthright of Westbrook, a local chapter of a larger organization claiming to be a “crisis pregnancy center” but their agenda is clear: to guilt you into not having an abortion, even if you are exploring that option, as women do. For me, the manipulative messages that a fetus has eyes at 14 days and is kicking at 10 weeks only reminds me of my three traumatic miscarriages. So I get to thank Birthright for that whenever I drive to Clinton or Deep River. Now, I also get to thank the incumbent 23rd district State Rep. Devin Carney for spelling out his reasons for upholding the organization’s deceptive advertising practices and anti-choice propaganda in his recent op-ed.

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Even though Carney attempts to paint himself as a moderate centrist, I’m not buying it. It’s clear that he views Birthright as a legitimate health and human services organization, when crisis pregnancy centers are largely regarded as scourges to public health. If you’ve seen the billboards, you know: Birthright has an unequivocal anti-choice bias, and per their own website, they don’t refer clients to contraception options either. The most cursory Google search also reveals that Birthright was founded on anti-choice principles and is quite literally designed to deceive. 

Carney also attempted to justify his vote of “no” on HB 5414, because it included a provision for midwifery: “We were worried that lower-income women would lose access to doctors,” he writes. My question: Why is Carney is concerned about midwives performing abortions but is okay with women receiving counsel from CPCs which reproductive health experts often refer to as “fake clinics”?

I don’t think you can cherry-pick (or nitpick) when it comes to women’s rights. Most educated Americans know that midwives are employed by many hospitals for their expertise, and their services are covered by most insurance policies. This is not a dark arts, woo-woo profession—and the American Pregnancy Association agrees. (Midwifery is a field that attracts more women and minority practitioners—which might explain why it has detractors.)

After reading Carney’s explanations for his votes on Birthright’s deceptive advertising and HB5414, I don’t think the 23rd district can be assured he is moderate is his views on abortion rights. Supreme Court Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh would have had us believe they were moderates too.

On Nov. 8, I’m voting for Colin Heffernan, a Democrat, who has been endorsed by the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood. He’s also sophisticated enough to recognize when a local organization’s advertising practices are deceptive and harmful, or when there’s a provision in a bill that could limit women’s access to vital healthcare services.

Amy Elliott
Old Saybrook