Planned Parenthood PAC offers co-endorsement in W. Pa. House race

    Emily Kinkead and Adam Ravenstahl (Photo from the Pittsburgh Current).

    By Charlie Deitch

    Acting in response to what it says was “passionate and thoughtful feedback from our community of supporters in Pittsburgh,” Planned Parenthood’s political wing has endorsed both candidates in a contested state House race.

    On Friday, Planned Parenthood of Pa. Advocates provoked outrage when it endorsed state Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, who formerly opposed abortion rights but now supports them, over challenger Emily Kinkead. The two are vying for the Democratic nomination for Allegheny County’s 20th House District.

    On Friday night, the group pivoted and said it was endorsing both candidates.

    “In response to passionate and thoughtful feedback from our community of supporters in Pittsburgh, Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC is endorsing both Adam Ravenstahl and Emily Kinkead in the primary contest in HD 20,” the PAC’s new executive director, Emily Callen, said in a statement.

    “Representative Ravenstahl has repeatedly stood with Planned Parenthood in opposition to numerous attacks on sexual health and reproductive freedom. Emily Kinkead has made her commitment to reproductive health, rights, and justice a centerpiece of her campaign,” the statement reads. “We look forward to working with either of these great candidates in Harrisburg.“

    The endorsement marked the first time that Ravenstahl, the brother of former Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, has won the endorsement from the women’s health organization. Last fall, Ravenstahl said he supported abortion access. In September 2019, Ravenstahl told WESA-FM: “I’ve been voting pro-choice for the past few years. I changed my mind.”

    Before nabbing the endorsement, Kinkead questioned the decision. In an updated statement, she said she was “encouraged,” the by the PAC’s choice.

    “I am encouraged that Planned Parenthood has course-corrected. This co-endorsement is unprecedented in their history and I think it speaks to unprecedented times. While I disagree with their continued endorsement of my opponent because I believe that he has utterly failed to acknowledge or make amends for the damage that he has done with his anti-choice votes and actions, this is a time to focus on real change and to move forward,” the statement reads. “I am proud that Planned Parenthood has presented to their supporters that District 20 has a choice. Our current situation has only more strikingly demonstrated that our system is broken. We need new voices and strong advocates to ensure that the changes we make now to protect and support each other last. To accomplish that, we need new leadership.”

    Charlie Deitch is editor of the Pittsburgh Current, where this story first appeared.