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Months after he first announced it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled his 10-point women's equality legislation today with 10 days remaining in the legislative session.
Cuomo debuted the idea of the 10-point plan back in January during his State of the State Address and since then opponents and supporters have battled back and forth about what the abortion measure in the bill meant — without having actual legislation to argue over.
The abortion point of the plan would make the language of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision part of New York law. The bill also includes measures to fight human trafficking, pay discrimination and domestic violence.
The bill is expected to easily pass the Assembly but Cuomo said he has "no assurance" from the Senate that the legislation will pass. He said that discussions with the Senate Republican conference were similar to the stance they have taken in public, which is that the abortion part of the bill is a dangerous expansion of abortion rights. Some Senate Democrats also oppose the abortion language.
“Every one of the 10 points is important,” Cuomo said. “I see it almost as a statement of a bill of rights for women.”
At the same time, Cuomo described the abortion language as a litmus test for politicians. "There is a simplicity and a clarity to this pro-choice language,” Cuomo said. “The citizens of this state have a right to know where these elected officials stand.”
The women's agenda has not been an easy lift for Cuomo. It has caused him a number of headaches this year. Cuomo insisted on various radio shows that he hadn't revealed bill language because there wasn't agreement with advocacy groups. Advocacy groups responded that simply wasn't true.
Supporters of Cuomo's legislation are rallying in the capital park today and plan to aggressively lobby "pro-choice" Republican Senators for the rest of the session. But with only 10 days left, advocates admit that Cuomo has let this legislative push come down to the wire.
State Government Editor of The Gotham Gazette