Planned Parenthood PAC endorses Billy Smith

The political action committee for Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania announced it is endorsing Billy Smith for the state House of Representatives.

Smith, a defense attorney, is challenging state Rep. Margo Davidson, D-164, of Upper Darby, in the Democratic primary. Dafan Zhang, a third-year law student, also is running as a Democrat in the primary.

“Billy is a strong advocate for women’s health and rights, and will fight for women’s access to birth control, preventive health care and reproductive rights in the legislature,” PAC Executive Director Sari Stevens said in a statement announcing the endorsement.

The announcement said the 164th Legislative District needs a “true advocate” to ensure women have access to reproductive health services, including abortion services. Stevens said Planned Parenthood is disappointed by Davidson’s support for a pair of bills regarding abortions.

Davidson supported a 2011 bill that required abortion clinics to meet the same safety standards as freestanding, ambulatory surgical facilities. She also voted in favor of a 2013 bill preventing health insurance exchanges offered through the Affordable Care Act from covering most abortions. Both bills were supported by about three dozen Democrats.

“We have faced unprecedented attacks here in Pennsylvania straight out of the Tea Party playbook and Rep. Davidson voted for two such attacks that are now law in Pennsylvania after being an endorsed candidate in 2010,” Stevens said. “Given the relentless attacks we continue to see, it is clear that we need true advocates for women’s health in Harrisburg and we are confident that Billy is exactly the kind of candidate we need.”

Davidson has defended her votes on each bill, saying abortions should be “legal, safe and rare.” She said she voted to prevent abortion coverage on ACA health insurance exchanges because federal law prevents federal money from funding abortions.

Smith also has been endorsed by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, and state Rep. Brian Sims, D-182, of Philadelphia.

Davidson has the backing of the Delaware County Democratic Party and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 830. She also has been backed by U.S. Rep. Robert Brady, D-1, of Philadelphia; state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, D-8, of Philadelphia, and Upper Darby council members Barbarann Keffer and Sekela Coles.

Zhang has not announced any endorsements.

Saud Siddiqui, chief executive officer of the Upper Darby Caring Foundation, is running as a Republican. He is unopposed in the primary.


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