Saqib Ali Credit: File photo

This story was updated at 6:40 p.m. on July 15, 2022, to include additional information

Moms Demand Action, an organization that advocates for an end to gun violence, has rescinded  its “Gun Sense Candidate” distinction from District 15 delegate candidate Saqib Ali following allegations of abuse from his estranged wife.

Ali, 47, is challenging incumbent Dels. Lily Qi, Linda Foley and David Fraser-Hidalgo in the July 19 Democratic primary for the three delegate seats in the district. Earlier this month, a consent final protective order was entered in a case involving allegations made by Ali’s wife that he was abusive toward family members. Court documents state that Ali consented to the order without “admitting to the allegations in the petition or judicial finding of abuse.” The couple is involved in divorce proceedings.

Everytown for Gun Safety, the parent organization of Moms Demand Action, states on its website that the gun sense candidate distinction is not an endorsement, but rather an indication to voters that a candidate will govern with gun safety in mind. Qi, Foley and Fraser-Hidalgo have all received the distinction.

In an email to Bethesda Beat on Wednesday , Everytown for Gun Safety sent a statement saying that “we have rescinded Saqib Ali’s Gun Sense Candidate distinction, which was awarded before these allegations came to light. ”

On his website, Ali was listing the gun sense candidate distinction under the “endorsements” section as of Friday morning.

In a text message Friday afternoon, Ali wrote that Moms Demand Action never talked to him.

“They never asked me what was going on. Nor did they give me any indication or explanation for their action. So I can’t comment about it unless I have more information from them,” he wrote.

Campaign mailer promises to protect women’s health

Despite the abuse allegations from his wife, Ali has been sending out a campaign mailer in which he promises to protect women’s reproductive rights. One side of the mailer states that “women are no longer safe in Maryland.”

In the mailer, Ali is pictured against a backdrop of a Planned Parenthood health center with the message “We need stronger Democrats.”

The ad warns of states in which Republicans have tried to make it a crime for women to seek abortions in other states where it is legal. No states have currently made it illegal to travel to another state for an abortion, however there is an attempt to do so in Missouri, Poynter reported last week.

Photo from Louis Peck.

Ali’s ad mentions that other states with Democratic lawmakers “made themselves sanctuary states to block these Republican bounty hunters. When Maryland Democrats tried to do the same thing, our District 15 delegates didn’t act in time,” it says.

Ali’s mailer refers to the Pregnant Person’s Freedom Act of 2022 – legislation that would ensure that civil or criminal charges could not be brought against anyone who has an abortion, who suffers a miscarriage or  has a stillbirth. The bill did not advance out of the House of Delegates last session.

This year the legislature passed the Abortion Care Access Act, sponsored by Del. Ariana Kelly (D-Bethesda), by overriding a veto from Gov. Larry Hogan. The bill establishes a training program and funds to address the shortage of abortion providers in the state, and requires the governor to appropriate $3.5 million in the annual budget bill. Qi, Foley and Fraser Hidalgo all voted “yea” to override Hogan’s veto.

Additionally, in Montgomery County, State’s Attorney John McCarthy has pledged that his office will not cooperate with out-of-state authorities that attempt to prosecute women for seeking out-of-state abortions.

Qi, Foley and Fraser-Hidalgo did not respond to phone calls or emails from Bethesda Beat seeking comment on the ad earlier this week.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

Dan Schere

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com.