Democrats for Life of America
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kristen Day -202-220-3066
June 24, 2013
GOVERNOR CUOMO KILLS WOMEN’S EQUALITY BILL OVER ABORTION EXPANSION
Democrats For Life Urges Passage of Other 9 Points and New 10th Point to Support Pregnant Women
Washington, DC –Democrats for Life of America expressed disappointment over Governor Cuomo’s failure to pass a Women’s Equality bill and challenged the New York Assembly to reconvene and pass the historic measures. The Governor’s abortion expansion language clearly prevented passage of a package of bills to support women’s rights to address issues such as employment discrimination, paid maternity leave, domestic violence and human trafficking.
“The Governor had an opportunity to promote equal rights and opportunity for women,” said Kristen Day, Executive Director, Democrats For Life of America. “ Instead, he advanced a cause for a vocal minority who want unfettered access to abortion. Now his pro-choice allies and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are still blocking the nine points passed by the Senate.”
The first nine points of the package passed both the Assembly and the Senate. It was the abortion language that did not have the votes for passage in the Senate. The Assembly then refused to vote on the nine bills without the abortion expansion provision. Although the formal legislative session has ended, the Assembly Leader can reconvene the Assembly to vote on the nine bills passed by the Senate.
“It is unconscionable that the abortion lobby is preventing passage of unrelated legislation on equal pay, domestic violence and human trafficking,” said Day. “We have been saying all along that the Governor’s abortion expansion bill is bad for women. Those Assembly members who continue to block passage of the nine bills are showing their true colors by elevating abortion above real progress for women. Instead, they should follow the lead of Democratic Senators Diaz and Felder, who voted to pass the other nine bills and the Democratic Assembly Members who had the foresight to understand that abortion expansion is bad for women and a bill that included it would not pass the Senate.”
Eight Democratic Assembly Members, William Colton, Marcos Crespo, Michael Cusick, Dennis Gabryszak, Michael Kearns, Robin Schimminger, and Michael Simanowitz, voted against the Assembly bill that contained language to make abortion legal up to nine months of pregnancy with no restrictions. They represent Democratic values and the majority opinion of Americans who oppose late term abortion. According to an August 2011 Gallup Poll on common ground, majorities of both pro-choice and pro-choice respondents support restrictions on abortion including bans on late-term abortions. In fact, 79 percent of pro-choice respondents support making abortion illegal in the third trimester.
The Cuomo abortion expansion bill would have repealed the current ban on late term abortions in New York. The Governor’s proposal did not address New York’s abortion rate, nearly twice the national average. In his initial budget, the Governor zeroed out funding for the only program in the state the offers support for a women to carry a pregnancy to term and offered unlimited public funding of abortion.
“There is an overall lack of support for a New York woman to carry a pregnancy to term, but unlimited funds to pay for her to have an abortion,” said Day. “We have advocated and will continue to advocate for a 10th point that offers more support and empowerment for pregnant women to carry her pregnancy to term and a real effort to make abortion rare. Support for pregnant women, not abortion expansion, is more consistent with promoting equality for women.”
Democrats for Life of America months ago issued an open letter to supporters of the Women’s Equality Act to make clear that their priority was passage of the broad package of women’s rights initiatives, untethered to the divisive abortion plank that threatened to scuttle the entire package. Now that concern is being realized, as the abortion lobby is holding hostage the other nine bills that passed with overwhelming support.
“Politics is the art of the possible,” said Day. “It is still possible to pass a package of measures aimed at equality for women. It is time for the Governor and Speaker Silver act. Their failure to do so shows that they are putting abortion ahead of equality for women.”