ALBANY, June 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appears determined to expand abortion in the Empire State, making a last-ditch move this week to resurrect what appeared to be a defunct abortion proposal by separating his “Women’s Equality Act” into 10 separate bills.
On Monday, the Independent Democratic Committee (IDC) had introduced Cuomo’s “Women’s Equality Act” with only nine of the ten original points, excluding the highly controversial provision that addressed abortion.
An IDC spokesman said the coalition’s decision to drop the abortion provision was a political necessity, since with the abortion provisions intact, the bill would fail in the State Senate.
Said IDC member Sen. Jeff Klein, “The IDC would like nothing more than to bring this provision to the floor, but the votes just are not there.”
That wasn’t good enough for Cuomo, who earlier this month described the ten-point plan as “almost as a bill of rights.” Said Cuomo, in refusing to abandon the abortion plank, “We don’t believe you have to give up any of the ten.”
On Tuesday night, Cuomo agreed to break the ten points into ten separate bills, all of which could be ready for a vote on Friday.
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It is unclear whether the state Senate will have the chance to vote on the separate abortion bill. For that to happen, it must be brought to the floor by Senate Majority Co-Leaders Dean Skelos (R-LI) and Jeff Klein (D-Bronx). Skelos objects to the bill on moral grounds, while Klein says he doesn’t think it has enough votes to pass. Neither man can move the bill forward without the other’s approval.
Mr. Cuomo said he especially wants to force a vote on abortion expansion so that voters know where lawmakers stand on abortion, an issue he said he plans to highlight during his own re-election campaign in 2014.
“New York is the last place where women's rights should be held back; it is the place where they must move forward,” Mr. Cuomo said in a news release Tuesday night.
New York already has the highest abortion rate of any state in the nation. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion-industry think tank, one-third of all New York pregnancies end in abortion. Currently, abortions can be performed up to 24 weeks of pregnancy without restriction. After that, they can be performed only by doctors to save the life of the mother.
The new abortion expansion bill would allow third trimester abortions for almost any reason, and would open the door to allowing non-medical professionals to perform the procedure.
Numerous faith-based and pro-life observers have criticized the abortion expansion plan, including Cuomo’s own spiritual leaders, the Catholic Bishops of New York.
“I am hard pressed to think of a piece of legislation that is less needed or more harmful than this one,” wrote Archbishop Timothy Dolan, in a letter to Governor Cuomo. “As we have discussed in the past, we obviously disagree on the question of the legality of abortion, but surely we are in equally strong agreement that the abortion rate in New York is tragically high,” he wrote.
“There was a time when abortion supporters claimed they wanted to make abortion ‘safe, legal, and rare,’” Dolan added. “Yet this measure is specifically designed to expand access to abortion, and therefore to increase the abortion rate.”
New York State Right to Life slammed the bill as “a Trojan Horse – a beautifully gift-wrapped package of death and destruction.”
Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life (AUL) said that if the bill passes, “New York will be sanctioning unrestricted, virtually unregulated, and taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, making it the most radically pro-abortion state in the nation.”