Pro-Choice, Anti-Jung

This article originally appeared in the Queens Gazette.

Queens Women Say “NO” to Jung

In Forest Hills, where the City of New York renamed a street in honor of Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman nominated for national office by a major political party, a wide-ranging group of leading New York women’s groups and elected officials joined together to denounce State Senate candidate SJ Jung for his recent announcement that he opposed a woman’s right to choose, even in cases of rape or incest.

The press conference was held on August 26th, Women’s Equality Day, a celebration established by Congress to commemorate the constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote.

Less than 72 hours earlier, on Tuesday, August 23rd at a candidate’s forum held at the Flushing Library, Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) asked Jung whether he is pro-choice, and he responded, “my position is clear: I do not support abortion unless it threatens the health of a pregnant woman. That’s the only exception that I can think of…So I do not support women’s choice (sic).”

The advocates and elected officials united to oppose Jung noted that he is running against the only woman from Queens to serve in the State Senate and that important legislation to codify the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision into New York law is currently stalled in the State Senate.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said, “It’s amazing to me that SJ Jung, who wants to replace the only woman from Queens in the State Senate, also wants to abolish the most fundamental rights of women to make their own health care decisions.”

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Flushing) said, “SJ Jung’s extreme positions disqualify him from representing our community. We need strong pro-choice women defending our rights in Albany, not those who will betray the women of Queens.”

City Council Member Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) said, “When it comes to a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, SJ Jung is an out of touch extremist. It is clear that the women of our community simply cannot trust SJ Jung to protect our most basic rights.”

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester), Democratic Conference Leader and prime sponsor of legislation to codify Roe v. Wade into New York state law said, “The last thing that New York needs is another state senator working to restrict a woman’s right to choose. We need more pro-choice senators fighting for the women of New York, not fewer.”

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Women’s Issues said, “SJ Jung should be ashamed of himself. He asks the women of Queens for their votes, while pledging himself to restrict their rights. It’s appalling.”

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale), former Chair of the Council’s Women’s Caucus said, “SJ Jung said a woman’s rights do not include making decisions about her own body. This tells me that SJ Jung cannot be trusted to represent the women of Queens.”

Andrea Miller, President of the Campaign for a Pro-Choice New York PAC, said, “SJ Jung fails to understand that abortion is a fundamental right for women, just like equal pay, or the right to vote. His extreme anti-choice views make him unfit to represent Queens in the New York State Senate. The people of District 16 have been fortunate to be represented by Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who has long been an advocate for access to all reproductive health care and a true champion for women’s rights.”

Sonia Ossorio, President of NOW New York, said, “We need to elect a lawmaker who is going to fight to keep the right to abortion safe and legal. SJ Jung has made it clear that he is not that candidate. The National Organization for Women–New York urges Queens voters to consider this when they go to the polls on September 13th.”

Rachel Gold, Chair of the New York State Women’s Equality Party, said, “Toby Stavisky has spent her entire career fighting to advance the very ideals the Women’s Equality Family was founded upon. We proudly endorse her for another term in the State Senate, where she will continue her work to advance the rights of women and make New York a more just and fair state for all.”

Brette McSweeney, Executive Director of the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee, said, “SJ Jung is extreme and dangerous on women’s rights. He wants to take New York women backwards. SJ Jung is wrong. New York women deserve the right to make their own choices about their own health. Over 1 million women and girls live, work, and raise their families in Queens, and Toby Stavisky is the only Queens woman in the State Senate. She has always been on the right side for the women and girls of Queens. Now, more than ever, we don’t need to go back to a dangerous time. Queens women and girls need Toby Stavisky’s leadership in the New York State Senate.”

Aries Dela Cruz, President of the Filipino American Democratic Club of New York stated, “Reproductive justice is a cornerstone of progressive values in New York, and any candidate running in a Democratic primary must commit to safeguarding an individual’s right to determine their own reproductive future. Close to half of women in New York City are immigrants, and the vast majority of them live in Queens. These immigrant women face the most persistent barriers to accessing comprehensive reproductive healthcare resources. Legal barriers, combined with cultural and economic obstacles, mean that immigrant women receive fewer basic reproductive health care services such as annual Pap smears, breast cancer screening, HIV/AIDS testing, and access to contraceptive options. Democratic candidates must not add to their challenges by campaigning on undermining their access to safe reproductive healthcare.”

Jung is running for the State Senate in the September 13th Democratic Primary against incumbent Toby Ann Stavisky, the only woman from Queens in the State Senate out of more than 1.2 million women in the borough.