League urged to drop support for abortion law

September 10, 1992

The Vote kNOw Coalition, leading the fight against an abortion-rights law on the November ballot, challenged the League of Women Voters yesterday to stop campaigning for the measure, saying the league's reputation as a source of fair information is at stake.

League members said the organization, which abstains from endorsing political candidates or parties, routinely takes stands on important issues and doesn't intend to stop now.

"The league traditionally takes positions on issues it has studied," said Nancy Schneider, president of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County. "Some issues that we feel strongly about we take positions on. And we lobby: taxes, education, health care, child care, housing -- you name it, we testify on it. We've had a position [on abortion] since 1973."

Vote kNOw says the league should remove itself from the executive council of Maryland for Choice, the group campaigning for passage of the new abortion law at referendum.

"They clearly are aligning themselves with one side only," Ellen Curro, president and executive director of the Vote kNOw Coalition, said at a news conference outside the offices of the League of Women Voters of Baltimore County.

A similar news conference was held outside Ms. Schneider's office in Rockville.

Ms. Schneider said the league claims only to be non-partisan -- that is, not influenced by a political party. "We're non-partisan, but we are political," she said. "Sometimes it's hard to separate the candidates and the issues. But the fact is we don't back candidates."

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