The push to expand abortion in New York state by having it declared a “fundamental right” has been going on for years in the NYS Legislature. During each session, the so-called Reproductive Health Act is introduced, passes the Democratic-controlled Assembly, and ultimately — and fortunately — dies in the Republican-controlled Senate.
This year Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a new tactic. At a rally of some 1,600 pro-abortion advocates at the Empire State Convention Center on Jan. 30, he said he will offer an amendment to put access to abortion-on-demand directly in the New York State Constitution.
It’s not easy to amend the Constitution. To be a successful an amendment must pass in two consecutive terms of the NY legislature and then be approved by the voters.
The move is prompted by fear that new Supreme Court judges appointed by Pres. Donald Trump might reverse Roe v. Wade. Read more here.
Last night, the NY State Assembly passed two pro-abortion bills:
A. 1748, which could increase late-term abortions in the state, empower non-doctors to perform abortions, eliminate protections against unwanted abortions, and even jeopardize live-born children who survive abortion attempts. This passed by a vote of 97-49. Voting FOR this bill: Ken Zebrowski (AD 96), Ellen Jaffe (AD 97) and Jim Skoufis (AD 99). A prolife vote AGAINST it was cast by Karl Brabenec (AD 98).
A. 1378, which requires insurance companies to provide “cost-free” contraceptive coverage, including potentially abortifacient drugs like the morning-after pill. Passed by a vote of 103-43. Again, voting FOR this bill: Ken Zebrowski (AD 96), Ellen Jaffe (AD 97) and Jim Skoufis (AD 99). A prolife vote AGAINST it was cast by Karl Brabenec (AD 98).
Also, keep in mind that “cost-free” coverage is not really free. Pharmaceutical companies were not giving away their contraceptive products last time we checked. Increased premiums from the insurance companies will probably cover the expense, and that could mean your money.
This bill left in place a provision from an earlier law whereby a “religious employer” may request a healthcare contract for its employees without coverage for these drugs and devices. That will work for organizations like churches, according to the law’s definition of what a “religious employer” is. Unfortunately, it does not protect the private employer who because of his religious beliefs opposes abortion or contraception.
Both these bills are versions of similar legislation, which the Democratic majority in the Assembly has been pushing through on a party-line vote each year. Fortunately, it never reached the floor of the Senate, where the Republicans have a slim majority — one vote this year. We must work to make sure these bills do not become law in New York.
Back in session, the New York State Senate yesterday unanimously (62-0) passed all the planks of the Women’s Equalty Act (WEA) except for one — the controversial abortion expansion bill.
These same measures — including pay equality, curtailing pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, aid for victims of domestic violence, and strengthening laws against sex trafficking — passed the Senate last spring, but never became law because the House refused to consider them without also voting on the abortion legislation.
Now, again, the WEA will return to the House, where pro-abortion forces are pressuring the legislators not to vote on the bills passed by the Senate, but to hold out for the full package containing those bills plus the abortion expansion “10th point.”
It will be interesting to see what Governor Cuomo, who strongly supported the full WEA agenda in his State of the Union address last year, will say in his speech next week.
Senate Majority Leader and Coalition Co-Leader Dean Skelos (R) said in a statement supporting the passage of the non-abortion-related measures: “It is a new year and time to put progress over politics by passing effective measures that provide women with the protections they need and the opportunities they deserve.
For more about this, see Equality Clash Redux (The Times Union)
NYS Senate Passes Women’s Equality Package (Press release from the NY Senate)
Today — by a 9 to 8 vote — the NYS Senate Health Committee rejected the Reproductive Health Act, a bill to expand abortion in New York. That means this dangerous legislation has been stopped in committee and will not move on to the full Senate for a vote.
We would like to thank Sen. William Larkin, who represents North Rockland, Chairman Kemp Hannon, and the other members of the Health Committee who voted No. And thank you, too, everyone who made a call, sent an email, or helped in the last-minute effort to defeat this bill.
Keep in mind though, that while we have won a battle, the war is still ongoing. The RHA has been killed in committee — but, unfortunately, we haven’t seen the end of the threat.
Abortion supporters have built the same provisions of the RHA into the abortion plank in the NYS “Women’s Equality Act” (WEA) that we fought so hard to defeat last year.
This year, the WEA already passed the NYS Assembly in January with assembly persons Jaffe, Zebrowski, and Skoufis voting for it and giving Rockland a complete pro-abortion sweep.
Sometime in the next two months, the WEA will come to the Senate for a vote, and if it passes there (it was defeated by only one vote last year) its deadly abortion provisions will become the law in our state.
So please keep up to date. Let your state senators know you oppose the abortion plank of the WEA — Sen. Larkin in Haverstraw, Stony Point and Pomona (39th District), and Sen. Carlucci for the rest of the county (38th District). Watch this site for more information.
Here’s a more in depth analysis of the RHA vote from the New York Families Foundation.
“In today’s State of the State Address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo instructed lawmakers to “stop playing politics with women’s rights” and to pass his extreme, pro-abortion Women’s Equality Act in its entirety. At New Yorkers for Life, we refuse to play politics with the lives of unborn children or the health and well-being of women, and we will continue to do everything in our power to oppose the Governor’s cynical efforts to pander to the abortion lobby.”
~~Statement from NewYorkers for Life Facebook page on Gov. Cuomo’s “State of the State” Address on Jan. 8.
Dear Friends of Life:
We are pleased and thankful to report that the 2013 regular legislative session has come to a close, and that late-term abortion expansion legislation has failed to pass the New York State Senate. This week our team is catching a much-needed breather after the intensity of the legislative session, but we did want to send you this brief report and our appreciation.
Last Friday, Senator Jeff Klein, leader of the Independent Democratic Conference, offered the late-term abortion expansion plank of Governor Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act as a hostile amendment to a bill having to do with medical records. Thirty-two votes were needed to reject the amendment, and exactly thirty-two senators voted to reject the amendment. This marks the defeat of late-term abortion expansion in the 2013 regular session. Continue reading
A remarkable victory for unborn children and vulnerable women! Through the brave and tireless efforts of our pro-life legislators in Albany — and so many people like yourselves — the bill to expand abortion in NY has been defeated.
Thank you all, and congratulations to everyone who played a role in this battle — those who bombarded our legislators with phone calls, emails, and letters, travelled to Albany to lobby or protested on Route 59, wrote to the Journal News or commented on websites, distributed flyers and made calls and talked up the issue with friends, signed petitions and statements of principles, and those who prayed unceasingly and attended holy hours and prayer services held throughout the county.
As the NYS Catholic Conference wrote:
The result is, quite literally, the answer to prayer. More accurately, it is the answer to millions of prayers by men, women and children of every faith from every section of the state who believe in the inalienable right to life of the baby in the womb. . .
The movement to pass this bill awoke a sleeping giant, a silent pro-life majority that had been discouraged and disheartened from living in the state with the highest abortion rate in the country. Facing the most radical expansion of abortion since the state legalized it in 1970, thousands of New Yorkers contacted their legislators and made repeat trips to Albany to be a pro-life presence at the Capitol. (Complete statement here.)
Of course, this is only a battle in a longer war, and pro-abortionists are vowing to push this legislation through in the future. We must keep vigilant and informed and support the pro-life legislators whom the “pro-choice” people are threatening to take down in the next election.
But for now, praise God!
Statements, Articles, and Comments:
June 20 — Today the NYS Assembly passed Gov. Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act (A.8070, which includes abortion expansion) by a vote of 97 to 47.
Republican Annie Rabbitt voted against the bill — and we are grateful to her for standing strong and speaking out against it on the floor of the Assembly.
The other three representatives from Rockland voted for the bill, which will expand late-term abortion: Democrats Ellen Jaffee, Ken Zebrowski, and James Skoufis.
During the debate, the sponsors finally admitted that the bill would allow non-physicians to perform abortions.
Speaker Silver and Women’s Coalition groups then held a celebratory news conference to put pressure on the Senate to vote on the entire package. The Governor then sent out an email to add additional pressure.
The situation in the Senate is still not completely resolved. There are reports that abortion advocates will try to use a procedural maneuver to bring the abortion expansion proposal to the floor of the Senate. We believe that there are enough votes to defeat this effort, and to keep the bill from even being considered. But it will be a close call, and the change of even one vote could be decisive.
PLEASE continue to pray — and call you senator one last time and ask him to oppose the abortion provision in the Women’s Equality Act.
If you live in Haverstraw or Stony point, your senator is William Larkin. 518-455-2770.
If you live in any other part of the county, your senator is David Carlucci. 518-455-2991
June 19 — Gov. Andrew Cuomo and groups pushing a Women’s Equality Act have decided to split the omnibus legislation into 10 component parts, essentially unhooking a controversial tweak to the state’s abortion laws from measures that ensure pay equity and combat discrimination, human trafficking and domestic violence.
It’s unclear if this maneuver, which came less than 12 hours after Cuomo’s office released an updated version of the omnibus bill, would force a Senate vote on the abortion plank.
Officially, Gov. Cuomo, NY Senate GOP Dig in Their Heels on Women’s Equality Act.
June 18 — With the Senate still holding firm and blocking Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act (WEA), a revised version has been introduced in the Assembly. Among its several co-sponsors are Rockland’s Ken Zebrowki and Ellen Jaffe.
Recent changes to this legislation do nothing to alter the dangerous substance of the bill. A reference to the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is meaningless, since no state law can conflict with a federal law under the U.S. Constitution Supremacy Clause. The amendment to include a 24-week viability line is hollow as well, as the bill continues to add the “anything goes” health exception, legalizing abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy for virtually any reason.
Please call/email your Assembly representative ASAP and tell them to vote NO on A.8070. This vote will take place Wednesday or Thursday.
You can use this link to send an email to your representative.
Ellen Jaffe: 518-455-5118
Ken Zebrowski: 518-455-5735
James Skoufis: 518-455-5441
Annie Rabbitt: 518-455-5991