For Immediate Release
NOW-NYS Decries Reproductive Rights Omission from W.E.A.
It's Our Body; It's Our Choice!
On June 22, the NYS Senate passed only nine of Governor Cuomo's ten-point Women's Equality Act. This followed passage of all ten points by the NYS Assembly. The point omitted by the Senate was the Reproductive Rights plank, which would have codified the protections of the US Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision (now under constant assault by religious conservatives) for all New York women. National Organization for Women – New York State President Zenaida Mendez was "appalled by the omission. It's our body; it's our choice!" she said.
Mendez explained that NOW-NYS salutes Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) for his leadership on the W.E.A. And she "profusely thanks the Assembly and all the NYS Senators who supported the ten-point Act. But it is very sad that we had to leave our ovaries at the door... this is a profound sacrifice."
The nine W.E.A. components that passed will, among other things, strengthen existing human trafficking laws, end family status discrimination, stop source-of-income discrimination by landlords, stop housing discrimination for victims of domestic violence, stop pregnancy discrimination, and protect victims of domestic violence.
But Senate leaders Jeff Klein (D) and Dean Skelos (R) removed the reproductive rights segment that would protect a woman's right to obtain an abortion prior to twenty-four weeks, or when necessary to protect her life or health. Currently, New York's law is outdated because in 1970, New York led the nation and passed abortion rights prior to the transformational Roe v. Wade decision.
NOW-NYS President Zenaida Mendez urges all conscientious women and men who live in Senator Klein's and Skelos' districts to "remember this betrayal on election day. For these two men have told New York's women that they do not care about our health and our choice."
Mendez stresses that "whatever disinformation has been put forth by W.E.A. opponents, the bill did not legitimize the practice anti-choice spokespeople call 'partial birth abortion,' and simply stated that women could make their own health care decisions prior to twenty-four weeks."
President Mendez added: "NOW-NYS, through emails, letters, phone calls, demonstrations, civil disobedience and lobbying will let our elected officials know that we are very disappointed the ten-point package presented by Governor Cuomo was not passed by the our Senate. New York State should be, as before, in the forefront of women's rights, not bringing up the rear!"