Cuomo: New Abortion Tactic — Amend the NYS Constitution

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.



Atty General’s Opinion Would Expand Late-Term Abortion in New York

In the face of several failed attempts in the NY state legislature to change state law to expand third-trimester abortions, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is going the “legal opinion” route.

Holding that the U.S. Supreme Court rulings override existing state law, Schneiderman’s opinion now gives New York hospitals and clinics legal grounding to perform late abortions when the health of the mother — not just her life — is in danger.

The “health of the mother,” as defined by the World Health Organization, is “any condition that may impact her physical, emotional, psychological, or financial well being.”

The Supreme Court adopted this definition, effectively extending abortion on demand for the full nine months of pregnancy for nearly any reason you can think of, which is why on its face “health of the mother” is simply ridiculous.  Abortion should not be committed against an unborn baby for any reason at any time. And, according to the New York State Catholic Conference, Schneiderman’s move is an invitation for late-term abortion providers to “set up shop” in New York.

NYS Assembly Passes Stand-Alone Abortion Expansion

From NYS Right to Life:


[Note: All three Assembly legislators representing Rockland County voted FOR this pro-abortion bill: Ken Zebrowski, Ellen Jaffe, and James Skoufis. Skoufis and Zebrowski even co-sponsored it]

ALBANY – Today in a vote of 94-49 the New York State Assembly approved passage of AB 6221, the extreme stand-alone 10th point from the previously packaged 10-point Women’s Equality Act, which would expand third-trimester abortions and allow non-doctors to perform abortions. Since 2013, abortion advocates have been holding the Women’s Equality Act hostage to this single dangerous bill, refusing to break the 10-point bill up. This session, however, the will of the voters was finally heard, and the stand-alone bills have been considered. “Expanding cruel and brutal third-trimester abortions has long been a goal of the anti-life lobby who never met an abortion they didn’t like,” said Lori Kehoe, New York State Right to Life executive director. “With no regard for the fully developed unborn baby who is violently dismembered, or otherwise killed, the New York State Assembly once again put the abortion lobby above New York State women and their children.”  Continue reading

NYS Assembly Begins To Vote Separately on Women’s Equality Issues

Today the NYS Assembly unbundled the elements of the Women’s Equality Act (WEA) and passed an individual bill focused on toughening the penalties for sex trafficking and providing more support for victims.

This seems to signal a break from last year when the Assembly passed the entire 10-point WEA package — including the controversial abortion expansion bill — only to see the whole WEA die at the end of the session when the Senate eliminated the abortion measure but passed the other nine women’s rights components individually. The Assembly, in response, maintained that the abortion plank was an indivisible part of women’s equality and refused to vote separately on any of the individual bills the Senate presented them with. As a result, none of the WEA provisions became law last year.

Now that the Senate Republicans hold the majority in that house after winning in  November, the Assembly’s strategy of holding the whole WEA hostage to the passage of the abortion expansion bill has changed.

Again, it’s an example of how much your vote counts.

Today’s bill passed unanimously. The Senate has already passed their version of this bill.

Assembly breaks up Women’s Equality Act, passes sex trafficking bill ~ Politics on the Hudson

NYS Senate Passes Women’s Equality Agenda — WITHOUT Abortion Expansion

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)


NY Abortion Expansion Blocked!

The attempt to expand abortion — the “10th-point” of the Women’s Equality Act (WEA) — was again blocked this year in the New York state legislature.

Thank you everyone who made phone calls, wrote letters, sent postcards, talked up the issue, and organized your friends to become involved. We held off the attempts of pro-abortion advocates to ram this bill through the state legislature once again.

And a special thanks to Sen. Co-Majority Leader Dean Skelos, N. Rockland Senator William Larkin, and all the representatives in the Senate and Assembly who courageously stood up for Life.

Here’s how it happened.

In a replay of last year’s vote on the WEA, the Assembly (in January) passed the full WEA which included the abortion expansion measure. (Rockland representatives Ellen Jaffe, Ken Zebrowski and Jim Skoufis all voted in favor.)

However, the Senate did not take a vote on the abortion plank but did pass the rest of the WEA measures last week.

In view of the Senate’s action, several members of the Assembly pressed the body to take a re-vote on what they passed in January — voting on their 10 issues separately this time, so at least the 9 passed by the Senate could become law.

But the Assembly held to their “all or nothing” approach — insisting that the abortion plank was an integral part of the package. As a result, the entire WEA went down to defeat.  Unfortunately, the anti-human-trafficking bill and the other  8 bills protecting women’s rights did not become law.

The “boss bill” was not brought up for vote in the Senate and so did not become law even though it was passed earlier by the Assembly, again with Jaffe, Zebrowski, and Skoufis voting for it.

Supporters of abortion expansion say they will make the defeat of the WEA a major issue in the fall election, targeting prolife senators.

NYS Senate Still at Work

The NYS Assembly adjourned yesterday, as scheduled, and held fast to their 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda. The good news: the abortion expansion legislation will not become law. The bad news: neither will any of nine points.

The Senate continued to work into the night, reconvened this morning — and is still working away passing bills at this hour (8 p.m.)

As soon as they adjourn and the legislative session is officially closed, we will have a story on what took place regarding legislation with prolife implications over the past few days.

Senate Passes More Women’s Rights Bills — But No Abortion

Today the NYS Senate completed action on all the bills in its Women’s Equality Agenda.  The Senate version is comprised of 9 separate bills – -and it does not include the abortion expansion measure (the controversial “10th point”).

Passed today were bills to  stop sexual harassment at work, remove barriers to remedying discrimination, and allowing for electronic filing of orders of protection.

All bills have been sent to the Assembly.  So far, the Assembly — under pressure from abortion supporters and unwilling to separate the other issues from the abortion plank — has refused to take up the bills separately. Thursday is the last day of the legislative session, and if the Assembly does not act on the Senate bills at that time, none of them will become law.

Today, five members from the the Concerned Clergy for Choice called on the legislature to pass of the full 10-point WEA with the controversial abortion expansion measusre.

But an editorial in the today’s Daily News calls the abortion plank of the WEA for what it is:  From its genesis — above all, by forcing an abortion litmus test on legislators — the Women’s Equality Act was a nakedly political creation.

New Bill: Refuse to Pay for Abortifacient Drugs? That’s Discrimination in NY

Today the NYS Assembly passed the so-called “Boss Bill,” a dangerous piece of legislation that would prevent a religious employer from refusing to provide health insurance that included coverage of birth control and abortifacient drugs because that would be a form of discrimination against women. It also says that employees must be protected from discrimination for the reproductive health decisions they make.

The bill was was sponsored by Rockland Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, and Rockland Assemblyman Jim Skoufis was one of the co-sponsors.

Advocates are pressing the Senate to vote on this bill before the legislative session closes on Thursday.

Albany — Senate Passes Three More WEA Bills

rhasign1Yesterday the NYS Senate passed three more parts of the Women’s Equality Act:  preventing employment discrimination against people with families, stopping housing discrimination against victims of domestic violence, and ensuring women receive equal pay for equal work.

The prolife position is that we approve and support the passage of 9 of the 10 WEA points, such as these, which enhance the dignity and rights of women. We oppose the radical 10th point that would make abortion legal through all 9 months of pregnancy, permit non-doctors to perform abortions, decriminalize coerced abortions, and allow abortions for sex selection and the reduction of twins.
As the legislative session draws to a close (it ends June 19) supporters of Women’s Equality Act  are still split over whether to push for the full agenda — including the controversial abortion expansion measure  — as a single piece of legislation or to vote on the 10 components separately. A separate vote would ensure that measures that have  broad bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate, would be passed into law.

Yesterday, members of the Women’s Equality Coalition, which supports the abortion plank, held a 20-minute rally in the Capitol to pressure lawmakers to pass the 10-point bill. Today Planned Parenthood Advocates of NY held a “Twitter Rally,” tweeting Senate leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein to bring the full WEA to the floor for a vote.

But last week, the Senate had already broken up the bill and passed two parts of it: the anti-human-trafficking and pregnancy protections in the workplace measures. And yesterday, it passed three more parts.The Assembly had passed the full bill last January.

Last year, the Senate passed 9 of the 10 parts of the WEA — all but the radical abortion expansion plank. However, because the Assembly passed the full bill and refused to compromise, no part of the WEA became law.

Will the final two days of the session result in another impasse this year?

Also possibly en route to a vote in the Senate is the so-called “Boss Bill” introduced in March by Rockland’s Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee and Manhattan Sen. Liz Krueger. This is a “contraceptive mandate,” similar to the one currently being decided in the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case. It would force employers — regardless of their religious beliefs — to provide contraception to their employees on the grounds of “discrimination.” Read about it here.