Reproductive rights advocates in New York are split over how to move forward with the Women’s Equality Act, which is being held up over a provision on abortion that would align state law with Roe v. Wade. The fight is reminiscent of arguments over the state’s original 1970 abortion reform law.
A key piece of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Agenda failed to pass a senate committee vote Tuesday. The Women’s Reproductive Health Act, which would have expanded access to abortion care in the state, was blocked by Republicans and seems unlikely to pass the legislature this session.
Del. Michael Folk introduced two amendments to the bill, one that would have expanded the definition of “person” to include a fetus, and another that would have included “the health of the unborn child” in the bill’s protections of pregnant women. The amendments were defeated before the bill passed the state house.
The ten-point agenda would codify a woman’s right to choose an abortion, attempt to reduce gender-based pay discrimination, and strengthen protections for survivors of abuse.
The bill would officially repeal pre-Roe v. Wade statutes that criminalize abortion.
This summer, the effort to pass the Women’s Equality Act in New York and the Supreme Court’s decision involving the anti-prostitution pledge that applied to global funding to fight HIV and AIDS had implications for sex workers’ rights.
The New York State Assembly voted overwhelmingly Thursday to pass Gov. Cuomo’s ten-point Women’s Equality Act intact, but Republicans and a handful of conservative Democrats in the state senate have sworn the bill will be defeated unless the abortion platform is removed.
In his State of the State speech in January, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made passing the Women’s Equality Act a centerpiece of his agenda for this year, including legislation protecting women’s rights to safe abortion care. But his political allegiances make the fate of the bill unclear. Does he really support it, or is he trying to play both ends?