Blame it on… Viagra?

Three NARAL Pro-Choice New Mexico members were ejected from Arizona senator John McCain’s town hall meeting Tuesday at the Hotel Albuquerque.

They had tickets, just like the 500 or so people who were let in and given a chance to pose a question. But they apparently made the fatal mistake of wearing NARAL T-shirts to the event.

At least that’s what the group’s executive director is left to believe.

The security people who ejected the NARAL ticket holders didn’t give them a reason for having to leave, NARAL director Heather Brewer told me Tuesday. They were simply told that they were trespassing and threatened with arrest.

The NARAL members weren’t arrested – they left quietly.

But their ejection certainly raises a lot of questions about whether free speech was tolerated at a town hall event designed to take questions from New Mexicans – all New Mexicans, not just those who tow a particular party line. Organizers had billed the event as public and open to anyone holding a ticket, space permitting.

Read what local blogger NMFBIHOP, who was inside the event, had to say about the ejection here.

It’s almost funny, Brewer told me later on Tuesday. The NARAL members had wanted to ask McCain a question about a recent misstep by McCain campaign “Victory Chair” Carly Fiorina. In the widely-reported incident, Fiorina stepped on the McCain party line by expressing dismay that many insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control pills.

According to NARAL, McCain’s 25 year voting record as a U.S. senator includes 22 votes against birth control, including consistent votes to block low-income women’s access to birth control, to deny teens accurate information about birth control and condoms, to stop measures that would require insurance companies to cover birth control, and to block funds to an organization that provides family-planning services – not abortion – for the world’s poorest women.

McCain has yet to adequately address his votes in the wake of of Fiorina’s statement. Read what local blogger Marjorie says about that here.

I think the NARAL members had as much of a right as anyone to enter the town hall for their chance to ask McCain a question about his long and public record of voting on reproductive rights.

What do you think?

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