Sen. Jeff Klein, who heads the Senate Independent Democratic Conference, defended the conference’s efforts to strengthen abortion laws in New York, saying it’s the only one that is all pro-choice.
The IDC has come under increasing pressure from women’s rights groups as it appears an abortion piece of a women’s rights agenda is failing to get enough support in the Senate to pass.
But Klein disputed that the IDC is the impediment. He said Senate Republicans and Democrats don’t have the votes to pass the abortion measure. The IDC has also introduced their own women’s agenda that includes maturity leave pay and tax credits for day care.
“I think the IDC has been painfully clear that we support a women’s right to choose,” Klein said. “Unfortunately, we’re the only conference that so far is all pro-choice.”
The National Organization for Women in New York City slammed the IDC and Senate Republicans for not getting the abortion piece included.
“”Women will not forget; don’t put this off until an election year,” the group said in a statement this afternoon.
Klein and Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, emerged from a closed-door meeting with Cuomo. He said he was still hopeful that the 10-point women’s agenda introduced by Cuomo, or some similar version of it, will pass before the legislative session ends Thursday.
“I’m still holding out hope that we can get all 10 done,” Klein said. “We can get nine done; we can accomplish what we set out to do. But again, we need votes to pass legislation, and the magic number is 32.”