Nicole Poore’s Very Bad Day [Updated]

Last week, as expected, SB205, the Republican Twenty Week Abortion Ban that violates the Supreme Court precedent in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and outlaws all abortion no matter the circumstance after twenty weeks, failed to advance from the Senate Health Committee.   Democratic Senators Bryan Townsend, Stephanie Hansen, and Nicole Poore declined to advance the legislation.  Republican Senator Ernie Lopez supported the bill, and Senator Cathy Cloutier was absent.

Now, it would seem that SB205’s sponsor, Senator Bryant Richardson (R) has allegedly received a commitment from Senators Ernie Lopez and Senator Nicole Poore(!!!) to advance the bill anyway out of committee.  From Delaware 105.9:

Republican Sen. Ernie Lopez signed the backer and so did Democratic Sen. Nicole Poore, in a move which breaks with her caucus.  […]  Richardson said Poore spoke to him last year after several amendments to Senate Bill 5 failed last year on this same issue.

“[Sen. Poore] came to my office the next day and said that she was pro-life, and she has pro-life sentiments, so I think she really does care about the issue, especially when you talk about a 20-week-old fetus that has a 60 percent chance of survival outside the womb if it’s taken through C-section,” said Richardson.

Poore didn’t return multiple requests for comment.

Now Poore has released a statement, as of 6 pm this afternoon:

“I always sign bill backers in my capacity as a member of Senate committees, because I don’t believe that committees exist to stop bills from coming to the floor. When I disagree with a bill, I sign its backer unfavorably. That is precisely what happened with SB 205.

I believe that my colleague, in his eagerness to get support for his legislation and his religious beliefs, did not fully understand my stated public and private position on choice, so let me take this opportunity to be completely clear:

I am pro-choice. I consistently vote pro-choice. I believe that women have a right to choose, and a government mostly comprised of men need not be in the business of regulating women’s rights. I have never told anybody that I am pro-life, and I would never misrepresent my position on reproductive rights to my colleagues or to the press. 

I understand and respect that there are valid emotions and positions on both sides of the reproductive rights debate. I am sensitive to the fact that there are strong feelings on this issue across the political spectrum. But I can not be explicit enough in stating my affirmative support for a woman’s right to choose.”

So she denies Richardson’s categorization of her actions.  Good.   I still have problems.  She still admits voting to allow the Twenty Week Abortion Ban to be released from committee, albeit unfavorably. She did the Republicans a favor that was not given to Bryan Townsend’s SB163. She cannot ever do that again, and expect to remain in the leadership. And she better be a no on SB205, if Cathy Cloutier decides to release the bill as well.


6 comments on “Nicole Poore’s Very Bad Day [Updated]

  1. And so there were traitors in their midst, a serious primary effort is required here.

  2. Senator Nicole Poore is arguably the strongest proponent of women’s rights in the Delaware State Senate. This session she has been on the front line fights of great initiatives including, but not limited to coverage for contraceptives and the ERA. And, if anyone were to ask her about her stance on abortion and Senator Richardson’s bill, she would have answered and confirmed her pro-choice sentiments and unfavorable opinion of the measure, as she indicated in her statement released yesterday. While Senator Poore may not have been available for comment right away, she is one of the busiest Senators in the GA, and, sadly, this post was issued without her comment and instead solely with Senator Richardson’s take on the matter making it seem like Senator Poore was in favor of it.

    Say what you want about Senator Poore’s signing of the backer of the bill, she clearly indicated her position as unfavorable and that her vote on the floor would be a “No.” Senator Poore’s vote to release the bill from committee speaks more to her respect for Senate traditions and customs that bills not be bottled up in committee and that they instead be given a fair shot for an honest debate and discussion. You are correct that that directly contradicts the actions taken by the Senate GOP on SB 163. However, if you are indeed making an open-government argument that bills deserve to be discussed and debated, then you should not expect a Senator voting to suspend rules to bring a bill out of committee for that honest and open discussion to bottle one up in committee.

    At a time when our politics is fraught with divisiveness and anger, we seem to have lost the ability to agree to disagree and converse with those who do not share our opinions. It is comforting to know that there are still those who do believe that issues should be debated openly and fairly, but are still willing to remain true to their Democratic values. Abortion is a tough issue with many sides. I’m disappointed in how SB 163 panned out, but on SB 205, Senator Poore was the better person and did not let a difference of opinion or ideology get in the way. We can all learn from her.

    • cassandram

      One of the key functions of committee review is to set the priorities for legislation. It may be “fair” to let every bill have its day, but every bill can’t be a priority. Otherwise the entire body would be paralyzed. It *is* fair to expect that in a Majority D body, that D priorities get to the floor and the ones that aren’t important to our agenda stay in Committee. Frankly, I would never expect something like this to be released from committee. This is certainly NOT a D priority and especially not at the end of session.

      • John Carney

        Which one of the hacks in the Senate Communications shop posted this essay?

  3. “At a time when our politics is fraught with divisiveness and anger, we seem to have lost the ability to agree to disagree and converse with those who do not share our opinions. ”

    No, “we” haven’t. Republicans have. It took “us” 20 years, but we are responding in kind. If you want to sing “Kumbaya” open a summer camp. If you want me to respect Ms. Poore as anything but self-dealing, let her find a job that’s not connected to government. Until then, I’m not much interested in her vote for the ERA; what looks like progressivism is also, for a female legislator, self-interest.

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