AG candidates spar over abortion rights

San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, the Democratic nominee for state Attorney General, held a news conference this morning to call upon her Republican opponent – Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley – to clarify his position on abortion rights.

Cooley “has consistently refused” to state his position, Harris’ campaign said in a news release, citing his refusal to answer NARAL Pro-Choice California’s questionnaire.

“NARAL Pro-Choice California is proud to endorse Kamala Harris for Attorney General. She will continue her long record of leadership to protect the right of women and their families to make personal, private decisions,” NARAL director Amy Everitt said in Harris’ news release. “California needs an Attorney General who is not afraid to lead, and who can take the time to return a phone call or fill out a questionnaire about one of the most important and fundamental rights that the A.G. has jurisdiction over. And California needs an A.G. who understands that choice is not a partisan issue. Steve Cooley has been silent on where he stands on a woman’s right to chose despite numerous phone calls, emails and letters.”

Harris’ camp says the state attorney general has statutory duties dealing with abortion rights, including implementation of new regulations surrounding federal health-care reform, enforcement of the California Freedom of Access to Clinic and Church Entrances (FACE) Act, enforcement of California’s laws ensuring timely access to emergency contraception, and more.

Steve CooleyBut Cooley’s campaign says her accusations are a load of balderdash: “The only problem with the latest Harris attack is that Steve Cooley is pro-choice. He’s always been pro-choice. Even worse, Kamala Harris knows it.”

Cooley’s news release says he didn’t answer NARAL’s questionnaire because it’s not a neutral organization “whatever claims they’ll make,” and “could be counted on to attack Cooley regardless of what our campaign did or didn’t say. Today’s presser proves it.”

“The bottom line: the trailing Harris is desperately trying to change the topic from her poor record on public safety and lack of support from law enforcement to something else. Anything else. So she is trying to manufacture phony issues with remarkably lame attacks,” Cooley’s camp claimed.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    You gotta love Kamala Harris, the DA who won’t seek the death penalty for cop killers.

    How very San Francisco!

  • John W

    I’m going with Cooley. Nothing against Kamala. But I like the fact that Cooley is for reforming Three Strikes — not necessarily a popular notion in his own party.

  • Elwood

    Three strokes should be modified to two strikes.

  • Roger Harris

    I have a friend who was prosecuted by Steve Cooley’s office on false charges. My friend’s crime? He was named in a will that revoked a prior will in which a friend of Cooley’s was named along with his wife as the sole beneficiaries. The friend of Cooley’s was a former member of law enforcement and one of his two sons was a deputy sheriff and the other was high up in the Highway Patrol. There never has been such a prosecution in the history of legal jurisprudence. The California Court of Appeal threw out all of the felony charges. This case got zero publicity. It was a shamefully corrupt criminal prosecution to help the DA’s friend obtain the inheritance that should have rightfully gone to my friend. I could never vote for this man for any office let alone for the Attorney General of California. I am of no relation to Kamala Harris.

  • John W

    Ah, my Sept. 25th post is so yesterday. Upon further consideration, I voted for Harris.