This is a letter to the editor written by a group of State Senate candidate Leslie Danks Burke supporters. It was not written by The Ithaca Voice. To submit letters to the editor for consideration, please send them to Matt Butler at

Planned Parenthood is an enormous force for good throughout the world and in our community.  At various points in our lives, we have used its health care, stood outside health centers countering protestors, volunteered locally, lobbied in Albany to advance abortion rights, and financially supported Planned Parenthood of Greater New York (PPGNY), after our local Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes (PPSFL) merged into PPGNY.  

We especially cherish our local Southern Finger Lakes health and education centers. We have volunteered and supported Planned Parenthood and are profoundly disappointed that the State organization, Planned Parenthood Empire State Votes PAC (PPESA), has chosen to divide abortion rights supporters in our area by endorsing only one of our two pro-choice women candidates, excluding Leslie Danks Burke. Leslie has worked tirelessly over the last 15 years to advance the reproductive rights of women across our region and it’s important to recognize and honor her efforts. 

Leslie has long been a warrior for reproductive rights in general, but especially for our regional Planned Parenthood organization, as a board member and a spokesperson. Year after year, she led us on long bus rides to Albany to lobby forced-birth advocates like Senator Tom O’Mara. Since 2013, she warned us about the real possibility of a world without Roe, she organized door-to-door canvasses to build support for Planned Parenthood in rural communities, and she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support our local healthcare needs. Leslie ran against anti-choice O’Mara in a gerrymandered district where victory was very unlikely. She took this hit for all of us because she believed abortion rights and progressivism deserved a voice even in deep red districts.  

Because of the work of Leslie and many others across rural upstate, New York’s legislature finally found the courage to write Roe into New York law in 2019, protecting against the Supreme Court’s 2022 overturn of Roe. 

In the words of the statewide PPESA chair, we need “to ensure New York guarantees access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services for all who need them.”  Leslie Danks Burke has been and will continue to be an unwavering champion for reproductive health. That is why we, the undersigned volunteers and supporters of Planned Parenthood, will vote for Leslie on August 23rd.

  • Julie Carpenter, R.N.
  • Caroline Cox
  • Richard Entlich
  • Ilene Gaffin
  • Karen Gilovich
  • Tom Gilovich
  • Brad Grainger
  • Mary Grainger
  • Rachel Lampert
  • Alison Lemberg, M.D.
  • Lynn Leopold
  • Susan Mueller, R.N.
  • Katy Noonan
  • Angela Palumbo
  • Sue Perlgut
  • Diana Riesman
  • Nick Salvatore
  • Mike Schaff
  • Ann Sullivan
  • Sandra Thananart, M.D.
  • Doug Green
  • Gerry Cox