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Cuomo Lawyer: Codifying Abortion Rights ‘Critically Important’

Posted By Jessica Bakeman On January 30, 2013 @ 3:19 pm In Other | Comments Disabled

A Cuomo administration lawyer wrote an op-ed piece defending the Reproductive Health Act against opponents’ claims that the law would expand women’s abortion rights in New York.

[1]Mylan Denerstein, counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, wrote that the bill “would not advance, or remove” any provisions not already in federal law or legal precedent.

The bill, she argued, would codify the rights women already have in state law.

“Why then do we need a state law you might ask,” Denerstein wrote. “The reason is straightforward, but critically important.

“Since Roe v. Wade the State never fully updated its laws to reflect the reproductive rights established by the courts and federal law,” she wrote, “and if the Supreme Court were to ever reverse the now long-established precedent, a woman in New York would consequently lose many of her current rights that relate to her own reproductive health and freedom.”

Read the full op-ed here:

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Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed a bold 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda that promises just what the name of the bill would suggest: women’s equality. Among other things, the act would help ensure that women are paid equal wages to men for similar work performed and help protect women from discrimination in employment and housing due to domestic violence.

The agenda also includes codifying in state law an important right—protecting a woman’s right to choose. What the Governor’s proposal would do is codify in New York statute the rights that all women already have under existing federal law. The law would not advance, or remove, any provisions not already in current federal law or legal precedent. Why then do we need a state law you might ask. The reason is straightforward, but critically important. Since Roe v. Wade the State never fully updated its laws to reflect the reproductive rights established by the courts and federal law and if the Supreme Court were to ever reverse the now long-established precedent, a woman in New York would consequently lose many of her current rights that relate to her own reproductive health and freedom. Membership or opinions of the nation’s Supreme Court may change: protection of a woman’s right to choose should not. The Governor’s proposal will protect against that possibility.

As simple as this provision is, it has resulted in some wildly false misinformation, which must be corrected for the record. Contrary to what some have suggested, the Governor’s proposal would not infringe on religious or moral beliefs, which are already federally protected, nor would it enable anyone other than licensed medical professionals to perform abortions, nor would it alter the current long-standing ban on “partial birth abortion”.

The Governor’s opinion is that he fully supports a woman’s right to choose and that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. Understandably reproductive choice comes down to a question of personal conscience. People can have different opinions, and we greatly respect those differences. However, scare tactics spread through misleading information are no way to engage in an honest dialogue about the issue.


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[1] Image: http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com/files/2013/01/mylan_denerstein-300x300.jpg