Pro-life advocates in the state of New York have been speaking out recently to oppose Governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement of the Women's Equality Act, a pending bill which pro-life supporters argue will pave the way for late-term abortions in the state.
Cuomo referenced the topic in his Jan. 9 State of the State address, in which he referred to a pending bill created to "protect a woman's freedom of choice by enacting a reproductive health act."
Although Cuomo neglected to divulge on the specifics of the bill, pro-life advocates in the state worry that one portion of the bill, along with regulations on equal pay for women and protection against pregnancy discrimination, refers to the Reproductive Health Act, which has been pushed since 2007 by Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and seeks to legalize abortions in the state into the third trimester of pregnancy.
Critics have argued that Cuomo is attempting to pad the controversial Reproductive Health Act with more valiant efforts, such as equal pay for both genders, so that it may be more widely accepted by the Senate.
As The Post-Standard reports, the bill states that women have a right to abortion after six months of pregnancy if the mother's life is in danger or if the fetus is not "viable," or capable of surviving outside of the womb with extraordinary medical assistance.
Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, issued a statement condemning Cuomo's pending bill, arguing that he is merely "re-packaging" an "extreme abortion bill" in a "desperate attempt to push through an abortion expansion that's been around for six years and has failed to gain traction as a stand-alone bill."
Gallagher warned Catholics in the state not to be duped by "Governor Cuomo's ideologically driven political agenda, an agenda that is extremely harmful to mothers, infants and religious liberty."
"An abortion expansion in New York State will not foster women's health or women's dignity. New Yorkers want their leaders to take action to decrease the state's abortion rate and reduce the tragedy for women and families. We would like to work with them to do just that," Gallagher added.
In addition to the stipulations regarding abortion, the Women's Equality Act also seeks to protect women from domestic abuse, and proponents of the pending bill argue that it merely seeks to update current abortion laws.
"I don't want to preclude Republicans from wanting to improve the lives of women and in context when people realize the facts and realize the hurdles that women face. I'm hoping that this will definitely be a bipartisan support of the women of New York State," Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins told Rochester YNN regarding her support for the bill.