Some criticize Kennedy for changing view on abortion

SOUTH BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A local state senator is drawing some criticism for changing his view on abortion.

When Tim Kennedy successfully won the State Senate seat of Bill Stackowski in 2010, he was a declared pro-life supporter. But now he supports Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, which would expand abortion rights in New York, and that’s not going over well with some of his constituents.

Mary Kujawski said, “Well I really don’t know his motive. It’s probably for votes, to advance in the political field. I think I give the bishop a lot of credit for standing up and saying that it’s wrong.”

Bishop Richard Malone said in a statement: “I am extremely disappointed and deeply concerned about his turnaround on this most critical issue. To be pro-abortion/pro-choice rights is totally inconsistent with Catholic teaching.”

But some voters support Kennedy’s change of position.

Jim Piraino said, “Everyone’s got their own choices, their own freedoms and that, you know. Whatever he decides, he’s doing a good job, and I’m right behind him.”

Kennedy, who attends St. Martin’s Church n South Buffalo, declined our request for an interview. In a statement he said: “I believe that there is more to my faith than any one particular issue. I maintain my personal views on the issue.”

But he added that he must be responsive to all the people in the state.

“Their input, opinions, and access to health care must be weighed against my personal beliefs, especially on issues of this magnitude.”

Betty Jean Grant, who narrowly lost to Kennedy in 2012 and is challenging him again, questions what Kennedy calls his “evolving” views.

“Pro-choice all of a sudden, when he has clearly stated his pro-life stance, seems to be to me that either he has had a 360 degree turn, or he’s trying to fool some of the people some of the time,” she said.

While Kennedy is supporting the Women’s Equality Act, which also deals with wage discrimination and protections for victims of domestic violence, among other things, he says more should be done to prevent and end abortion through education, awareness and health care resources.

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