Ouside the federal courthouse in Portland this morning, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England director of public affairs Chris Quint announced that the national Planned Parenthood Action Fund board has "unanimously" decided to endorse Tom Allen for US Senate.
It's a big deal because Planned Parenthood has supported Allen's opponent, supposedly pro-choice Republican incumbent Susan Collins, in previous races. Apparently, this is the first time the organization has switched their loyalties to support the challenger of an incumbent they previously endorsed (via Collins Watch).
It seems that Collins' vote to appoint Samuel Alito to the US Supreme Court was the nail in her Planned Parenthood coffin; Allen, who accepted the endorsement in person, highlighted the "fundamental inconsistency" of politicians who vote one way on legislation, but then turn around to vote in favor of judicial nominees who will undermine the same freedoms.
"His record [on women's issues]...was predictable," Allen said of Alito, before pledging to remain consistently pro-choice with regard to both legislation and judicial appointees.
Over at the Huffington Post, blogger Howie Klein congratulates Planned Parenthood on making a principled (as opposed to political) choice. He contrasts today's news with the Human Rights Campaign's announcement in April that they were endorsing Collins. (I can't seem to find the blog post about it, but here's what the incredibly even-handed Christian Civic League had to say at the time.) While Klein describes that decision as being based on "callous political calculations-- that if Allen won he'd be pro-gay anyway and that if Collins won she'd "owe" them," he says that Planned Parenthood's choice is "courageous."