July 17, 2024
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July 17, 2024
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Petition Submitted to Planned Parenthood to Rescind Endorsement of Jamaal Bowman

In an environment of politicians and political organizations endorsing people running for office, it is noteworthy to see a grassroots-led initiative push for an organization to rescind an existing endorsement.

In one of the most-watched primaries in the country, residents of New York State’s 16th Congressional District have been writing to Planned Parenthood to rescind its endorsement of Rep. Jamaal Bowman. The impetus for people in the liberal district to call the women’s rights organization was the recently surfaced video of Bowman yelling at a crowd on the streets of White Plains that the October 7 rape of Jewish women in Israel was a “lie” and “propaganda.”

“I have been giving to Planned Parenthood for 40 years. I send them money monthly, and I cannot believe that they would endorse a rape denier,” said Jackie Laub, a retired medical technician who lives in White Plains. “Do the leaders of the organization hate Jews and Israel so much that they would still endorse him?”

Rabbi Scott Weiner of New Rochelle used to be a board member of Planned Parenthood. He submitted the petition to the organization’s CEO and Chair last week, signed by 600 people in just one week, the vast majority of whom are residents of the district. “I am deeply shocked,” Rabbi Weiner said. “I care deeply about the organization, and for it to have its brand tarnished by endorsing Bowman will likely cost them important donors.”

The video of Bowman denying the sexual assault of women in Israel came out in late March, even though it was filmed at a pro-Palestinian rally in November. When people began to question and criticize Bowman about his rape comments, he refused to discuss it according to Politico.

Eventually, Bowman got around to condemning the sexual violence committed by Hamas but many of his constituents remain deeply troubled by his initial instinct to not believe women who are raped because they are Jewish.

Diane Katz, who raised her four children in the district said, “I wrote to Planned Parenthood as soon as I learned that they had endorsed Bowman. The organization’s response was abysmal. How can they endorse someone who clearly denied the extremely well-documented evidence and testimony of Israeli women who were raped and sexually mutilated? Jewish women around the United States have been leaders in the pro-choice and reproductive rights movement for decades and this is a slap in the face to our community.” She added her name to the petition to not feel so alone and abused by the organization’s tepid response to her letter.

“They are endorsing a rape denier. Can you imagine that?” Katz asked. “A woman’s rights organization is endorsing a rape denier.”

Others had a similar road to signing the petition.

Dr. Rebecca Amaru of White Plains shared her initial email with Planned Parenthood. It led with “I write as a resident of NY-16, a woman, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist, an abortion provider, a proud activist on behalf of abortion access and rights, and a Jew.” She added “Jamaal Bowman does NOT stand for the values that Planned Parenthood represents. Mr. Bowman’s statements after October 7, 2023, included denials of the sexual violence propagated by Hamas terrorists against countless women in Israel. The denials by some progressive politicians of the well-documented crimes against women on October 7 are a stain on the Democratic Party. No matter what Planned Parenthood believes about the war in Gaza, you MUST come down on the side of women victimized by rape as weapon of war.”

After not getting a response from Planned Parenthood, she added her name to the petition and forwarded it to friends.

“It is not as though [Westchester County Executive] George Latimer is not pro-women. He is every bit as pro-choice as Bowman. Minus the rape denial,” added Amaru.

Dr. Sandra Weinstein of New Rochelle, a mother of three girls, was glad that the petition was being circulated. “Candidly, I wasn’t going to vote for Bowman anyway, so this has nothing to do with the race. This is about the normalization of rape denial if the victims are Jewish.”

The petition does not discuss the primary race and acknowledges Bowman’s stance on abortions. Specifically, the petition states that it is “deeply distressing to see Planned Parenthood continue to endorse Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY16). While he has been a supporter of female reproductive rights, he has vocally denied the mass rape of Israeli women before a chanting crowd on the streets of his district. Women’s bodily autonomy is not limited to a right to abortion. It must include protections from sexual abuse and assault. Rep. Bowman’s disgraceful ridicule of raped women is beyond the pale and cannot be normalized as acceptable, which Planned Parenthood’s endorsement does.”

Dr. Tali Lando of White Plains was very direct, saying “I’m disgusted. How can my congressperson’s initial reaction not only be to mock the rape of Jewish women, but to incite a crowd that Jewish rape victims are liars? What kind of country are we in?” She continued that the entire premise of Planned Parenthood endorsing Bowman is a contradiction of being supportive of abortion rights. “Planned Parenthood should be ashamed of itself. It cannot claim to be the leading advocate of women’s bodily autonomy while simultaneously aligning itself with a rape denier.”

Rabbi Weiner added that “this is not just a Jewish issue. When a leading national women’s rights organization like Planned Parenthood affixes its name to person who denigrates the victims of sexual assault to a cheering crowd, every person is at risk.”

The group’s action is already costing them one donor. “After 40 years, I am no longer giving to them. They’ve lost me,” said Laub.

This is the link that was used to gather signatures.


Planned Parenthood has still not responded to the petition other than acknowledging that it was received on June 10.

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