Cuomo: Abortion portion should not derail Women's Equality Act

June 5, 2013 at 12:40 AM
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ALBANY, N.Y., June 5 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and several women's groups say they are not willing to withdraw an abortion provision to get the women's equality agenda passed.

Cuomo joined by members of the Women's Equality Coalition introduced legislation designed to end discrimination and inequality based on gender and to restore New York as a leader in women's rights.

If enacted by the New York state Legislature, the Women's Equality Act would achieve pay equity, stop sexual harassment, prevent pregnancy discrimination in all workplaces, strengthen human trafficking laws and protections for domestic violence victims, end family status discrimination and protect a woman's freedom of choice.

The bill would codify existing Supreme Court law to protect a woman's right to obtain an abortion prior to viability, or when necessary to protect her life or health, Cuomo said. Currently, New York state's law that protects a women's freedom of choice is outdated and does not conform to protections outlined in Roe vs. Wade and current state practice, Cuomo added.

However, the Republican-controlled Senate has indicated it won't vote for the abortion provision.

"I see it almost as a bill of rights, a statement of inequities for women," Cuomo said at a news conference. "We don't believe you have to give up any of the 10."

Cuomo said the much-talked about abortion portion shouldn't be a heavy lift if given a fair review because it updates state law to match the Supreme Court Roe vs. Wade decision, the New York Daily News reported.

The governor said other parts of the package, such as pay equity for women, could actually be a heavier lift than the abortion provision.

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