Democratic political action committees this week bombarded mailboxes and TV airwaves with congressional ads that liken Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian to Donald Trump, exclaiming, “They don’t trust women. So we can’t trust them.” Supporting Salud Carbajal, the two mailers and TV ads in English and Spanish say Planned Parenthood gave Achadjian consistent F grades for his votes on state bills related to sex ed, reproductive health, and access to women’s health care. Committee for Hispanic Causes and House Majority PACs paid $300,000 for the TV ads.
Asked about reproductive choice at a recent debate, Achadjian called it a “personal decision.” Personally, he said, he is pro-life. In an interview, Achadjian said he supports abortion in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger. “My thing is do we have the voice of the voiceless unborn child?” Achadjian asked. “Who is standing up for their rights?” He added, “How come we are not holding men responsible?”
Achadjian explained his opposition to one Planned Parenthood–sponsored measure — AB 2348 — that would have allowed registered nurses to dispense birth control pills: “It’s not just based on what I believe,” he said. “It’s also based on the information we get from groups.” For instance, he said, California Nurses Association opposed AB 2348. Achadjian added he voted to protect women against sex discrimination and to close a loophole in rape-by-impersonation laws — championed by District Attorney Joyce Dudley — to protect unmarried women.
Asked about the Republican effort to defund Planned Parenthood, Achadjian said he would want to review the undercover videos that allege illegal sales of fetal tissue before making a decision. “If the [accusations] were true, I would defund them,” he said. If not, he would support them, he said.
Republican Justin Fareed is personally pro-life, a campaign spokesperson said, “however, he believes it’s a personal decision between a woman, her family, doctor or clergy.” Asked in an email if he would side with the Republican effort to defund Planned Parenthood, the spokesperson said Fareed “does not believe that abortions through Planned Parenthood should be funded at the federal level.” The mailers and TV ads also functioned as a subtler jab at Democrat Helene Schneider, who worked for Planned Parenthood for a decade and is the only woman in the race.
As for the hit pieces, Achadjian laughed, saying they would not be attacking him if he weren’t the front-runner.