Advocates rally to support Women's Equality Act

Posted at: 01/14/2013 5:56 PM
Updated at: 01/15/2013 9:15 AM
By: Beth Wurtmann

ALBANY - Support is growing for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push for laws to expand women's equality in the state, but one part of the women's equality act is drawing controversy as well.

That part is the Reproductive Health Act, which strengthens a woman's right to make private health care decisions, including abortion.

Wearing pink scarves and waving signs, women's rights advocates called on lawmakers to pass the Women's Equality Act.

A 10 point package of legislation launched by Governor Cuomo that boosts pay equity, fights domestic violence, strengthens human trafficking laws and expands reproductive rights.

“We want NYS to be, by far, the best state for women, I have two beautiful daughters. For our daughters, our granddaughters, this is critically important,” said NYS LT Gov. Robert Duffy

The centerpiece of the proposal to enact the Reproductive Health Act, is not sitting well, with Albany Bishop Howard Hubbard though.

“NYS is kind of the abortion capital of the world I don't believe we should expand services,” said Hubbard.

The Bishop says while he supports any parts of the Equality Act, the Catholic diocese will oppose any expansion of abortion services, like late term abortions or allowing a non doctor to perform the procedure.

“But we will do our best to make sure that aspect of the women's agenda doesn't receive a positive vote from  the legislature,” Hubbard said.

Groups like the Family Planning Advocates of New York State say women should make the choices for their own bodies. Some lawmakers, already saying the Women's Equality Act has their vote.

“Fairness equality and protection for women, pure and simple,” said Sen. Neil Breslin.

Legislators will be debating the entire bill in the coming weeks.

It's not clear yet when it would go to a vote.