A coalition of advocates pushing for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s women’s agenda slammed two Republican senators who said this week they would not vote for the package unless a provision to strengthen New York’s abortion laws were removed.
Sen. Joseph Robach, R-Greece, Monroe County, said Monday he’s heard “loud and clear” that his constituents oppose the bill, which he said would further “partial-birth abortion.” Cuomo and supporters said the bill simply codifies federal abortion rights in state law.
GOP Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, has said he will block a vote on the bill.
The Women’s Equality Coalition, headed by pro-choice women’s groups, released a statement refuting Robach’s claims. The groups also criticize Sen. Phil Boyle, R-Suffolk County.
“It is unfortunate that Senators Phil Boyle and Joseph Robach, who had previously been judicious in their comments on the Women’s Equality Act, have chosen to support and amplify the extreme rhetoric of their more conservative colleagues over the will of the vast majority of New Yorkers,” the groups said in a statement. “We urge these senators to stop repeating falsehoods about what it would mean for New York State to update our abortion law to clearly reflect the federal protections for a woman’s health that were established in Roe v. Wade and affirmed in subsequent rulings.
“Creating a litany of inaccurate claims – whether it be allegations of supposed “expansion” of “late-term” or “partial-birth abortion” – is a blatant attempt to create a smokescreen to shield senators from having to admit that they oppose Roe v. Wade. It is simply not possible to support Roe v. Wade and oppose the Women’s Equality Act.
“Let us be perfectly clear: nothing in the five-sentence Part J of the Women’s Equality Act would in any way change or undermine the current federal ban that already makes partial-birth abortion illegal. That law, which is in effect today in New York and across the nation, would continue to be in effect here tomorrow if the Women’s Equality Agenda passed tonight.
“Ten million New York women are counting on the Senate to vote for full equality. These Senators, however, are using these specious claims to block progress on an historic bill that aims to ensure full equality and fairness under the law. By doing so, they do a disservice to all New Yorkers, 80% who support updating our law to include the protections in Roe.”