WASHINGTON – The president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (search) has some political pointers for John Kerry (search): Stand up for your beliefs and be wary of some of those dispensing advice.
The Democratic presidential candidate told The Associated Press in an interview last month that he would consider abortion opponents for lower court judgeships, though he pledged to protect the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.
But Gloria Feldt of Planned Parenthood, whose political arm has endorsed Kerry, is not satisfied.
"I think John Kerry understands viscerally reproductive rights as being related to women's human rights globally," she said in an interview Wednesday. "But he's got to come up with some better language to talk about it, and I think he's being poorly advised, poorly served by some of his advisers at the moment."
She said Kerry, like Democrat Al Gore in 2000, has become overly cautious when it comes to reproductive rights and would be better served by voters come November if he would talk more forcefully about the subject and set out a clearer agenda on everything from birth control to sex education.
"I think when a candidate has a set of beliefs, even if a voter doesn't agree with that set of beliefs, they have more respect for a candidate. So I'm hoping that Kerry will learn that as he goes along. He's certainly always been strong in his previous races, so I think he'll come to his senses," Feldt said.
Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, noting the candidate's rally in April with women's groups, said he is "absolutely committed to protecting a woman's right to choose."