Abortion Language Will Prevent Passage of Women's Rights Package

Democrats for Life of America
Feminists Choosing Life of New York
Contact: Kristen Day -202-220-3066
Consensus Means Removing Abortion Expansion
Albany, NY – Democrats For Life of New York and Feminists Choosing Life of New York issued an open letter to supporters of the Women’s Equality Act (WEA) to urge removal of the abortion expansion provisions. There is consensus and widespread support for the first nine points of the WEA concerning equality and safety for women, but not for the abortion language of the tenth point.
“Governor Cuomo stated that he is looking for consensus, and we have that on the first nine points of his proposal,” said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats For Life of America.  “The abortion language is divisive, controversial, and unnecessary. The only purpose it serves is to scuttle passage of a bill to advance women’s rights. The governor should not put the demands of the abortion industry above good legislation to promote, protect, and support women.”
Forty years ago, the failure to include abortion-neutral language prevented passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. It was on the verge of passing with 35 states agreeing to ratify the Amendment. Abortion-neutral language was proposed but not included, causing five states to repeal their approval of that federal constitutional amendment and resulting in the ERA's eventual defeat.
“We should not make the same mistake today that our leaders made 40 years ago.  Most groups who support the Women’s Equality Act do not take a position on abortion,” said Carol Crossed, board member of DFL of New York. “We should work together to demand immediate passage of the nine points that we all agree on that will provide immediate support and equality for women.”
The governor claims that his abortion proposal would codify federal law, yet it allows public funding of abortion, which is forbidden by federal law. The proposed language would remove a state statute that criminalizes an act of violence against a pregnant woman if her unborn child dies, and it would allow abortion on demand in all nine months of pregnancy. It also does not address the high abortion rate in New York or provide support for women to carry their pregnancies to term.

“New York has the highest abortion rate in the nation – twice the national average,” said Michele Sterlace-Accorsi, spokeswoman for Feminists Choosing Life of New York. “It might surprise people that one out of every ten abortions occurs in New York. Reducing abortion, not loosening restrictions, should be a priority. The other provisions in the Women’s Equality bill will help and empower women. Abortion expansion just does not fit.”
Without these controversial abortion provisions, the WEA has a better chance of passing. The proposals to strengthen human trafficking laws, prohibit discrimination against pregnant women and victims of domestic violence, and stop sexual harassment in the workplace have majority support and consensus in the Senate and Assembly. With the abortion expansion measures, passage of the Act is uncertain.
“We are extremely concerned that the governor will hold the package hostage unless he can find the votes to pass abortion expansion,” said Day. “Politics is the art of the possible, and without abortion expansion, it is possible and probable that a women’s rights package can be signed into law.”

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