For the second year in a row, Kevin Deely, candidate for State Representative, has sponsored the Dig Pink Annual Volleyball Tournament between Southern Lehigh and Saucon Valley high schools. The October 17th event was just one way Deely shows his support for women’s health. With the upcoming general election only weeks away, women’s issues have emerged on both the national and local stage for serious debate.
Outraged by a slew of legislation that has attacked women’s health care this past year, a group of women in the 131st district have come together to inform local voters that Representative Justin Simmons has pushed his right-wing agenda too far when it comes to women’s health care. These determined women call themselves “Women for Deely,” and the message is clear: women do not want the government, and legislators like Rep. Simmons, making critical decisions about their bodies and their health.
Women for Deely organizer Ellen Bell said “Justin Simmons is trying to deflect attention from his voting record, but he cannot hide from his extreme votes against women’s rights”. She continued to say that “We want to show women the facts and help them understand that a vote for Simmons is a vote against women.”
Women for Deely highlight these major issues:
- Rep. Simmons co-sponsored one of the most controversial bills: HB 1077. In an attempt to shame women, the bill forces women to endure an invasive ultrasound procedure before an abortion, even if it is deemed medically unnecessary by her doctor. 1
- Rep. Simmons voted in May 2011 in favor of a bill that was intended to shut down Planned Parenthood and other health care facilities, despite the fact that 95% of the services offered by Planned Parenthood’s health centers are preventative, such as cancer screenings, STD screenings and treatment, and birth control education and supplies.2
- Rep. Simmons opposes comprehensive sex education classes in public schools.3
- Rep. Simmons opposes safe, legal abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest .4
- Rep. Simmons opposes insurance coverage of abortion, even when a woman’s life is in serious jeopardy 5
- Rep. Simmons opposes protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation 6
Planned Parenthood has endorsed Kevin Deely’s candidacy. “Unlike Representative Justin Simmons, Deely understands that women don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms, prenatal care or cancer treatments.” Executive Director Sari Stevens wrote in an endorsement for Deely. She added “We are at a pivotal moment in Pennsylvania history to take control of the dire political situation and elect candidates that trust women to make their own healthcare decisions. Support for Planned Parenthood and access to reproductive health services is not a democrat or republican issue. Kevin is the right choice for the voters of the 131st district.”
Deely, a father of two girls and husband of an expecting wife, has promised to fight for women’s rights. “I will fight against this legislation because I trust women to make their own decisions when it comes to their health” he said, adding, “Women express concerns about protecting their rights almost every time I knock on a door. While I promise to advocate for equal rights for all, it’s great to see this team of women out there advocating for themselves.”
Another Women for Deely activist, Joyce Moore said “In these tough economic times, after going through the worst recession since the Great Depression, Representative Simmons seems to want to focus on women’s health care choices, relegating us as second class citizens. I disagree with this as a financial planner, a woman, and mother of two.”
This election is a choice between a candidate who trusts women to make their own decisions, or a candidate who supports inserting needless government bureaucracy between a woman and her doctor.
2 In May 2011, Simmons voted yea for HB 574.
3,4,5,6- Simmons responses to the following questions can be found at: