Charlotte mayoral candidates spar over Planned Parenthood

Jennifer Roberts
Jennifer Roberts dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

The controversy over Planned Parenthood has become a part of Charlotte’s mayoral race.

Democrat Jennifer Roberts, the only woman in the race, sent an e-mail this week to voters asking them to join her in “standing with Planned Parenthood.”

In response to the e-mail, Republican Scott Stone said he will send Roberts a letter asking her to “stop trying to gain a political advantage...from such an appalling national issue.”

Planned Parenthood has been criticized nationally after a conservative pro-life group secretly filmed the group’s executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue.

Planned Parenthood said the videos confirmed that it was not profiting from the sale of the tissue, and that it was only charging fees to recover its costs. But the videos have outraged some, and many Congressional Republicans are trying to eliminate federal funding for the organization.

Roberts’s e-mail states that her grandmother, Katharine Watson, “marched through the streets of Raleigh with other women in support of Planned Parenthood.”

The e-mail states that her grandmother told her that women won’t be equal “until they are able to plan their families.”

“The last forty years have proven her prediction to be correct,” Roberts said in her e-mail.

The e-mail has a link that allows people to support the group. If they sign their name, they are then sent to a Web page that allows them to donate money to the Roberts campaign.

Stone said “using this issue as a means to raise money is beneath the office of mayor and of your campaign.” He asked that she return any money to donors who gave from that e-mail.

In response, Roberts said Wednesday that she “supports full health care for women, and I want to remind people that 98 percent of what Planned Parenthood does is provide good quality health care to women, many of them pregnant.”

She added: “I am standing with women around the country who depend on them for comprehensive health care and comprehensive reproductive health care.”

Stone is facing Edwin Peacock in the Sept. 15 Republican primary.

There are six Democratic candidates, four of whom are prominent. Roberts, a former county commissioner, is facing at-large city council member David Howard, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes and Mayor Dan Clodfelter.

Steve Harrison: 704-358-5160, @Sharrison_Obs