After criticism from Senate Republicans, Governor Andrew Cuomo is changing the way he's pushing abortion rights. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has more on Cuomo's subtle shift in the way he discusses this controversial issue.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Last month, at his third State of the State Address, Governor Andrew Cuomo challenged lawmakers to pass a 10 point plan to enhance women’s equality laws. At its centerpiece is a long-sought measure for advocates of abortion and reproductive rights.
“Enact the Reproductive Health Act, because it's her body, her choice,” Cuomo said.
But then came the reaction to the proposal from religious groups, the state's Conservative Party and Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who has faced political heat in recent weeks over voting for Cuomo's sweeping gun control law.
Skelos said, “The way I look at this legislation is, number one, it is really an expansion of late term abortion and partial birth abortion. That's the main accomplishment of this.”
Cuomo said this week the law isn't an expansion of abortion rights, but simply updates the state's reproductive laws to fit with the landmark Supreme Court decision of Roe V. Wade. Now he says he's writing his own law that will be different from the existing Reproductive Health Act sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
Cuomo said, “Be careful when you give it a name because that suggests it's likened to another bill. This is going to be a separate position and all this position does is codify the current federal law. I can't say it enough. There are people who want to know does it expand the law, does it dilute the law, it codifies the current federal law.”
Some lawmakers who represent moderate districts are now suggesting that it may be easier to pass pieces of the Women’s Equality legislation, such as pay equity and anti-housing discrimination measures rather than getting the entire package.
“There's a lot that can and should get done and I just hope that we're not going to hold an entire package hostage over one component of a package,” said Senator save Valesky.
But Cuomo says the entire Women’s Equality package, including the reproductive rights measure, has to be done together.
“It is part of one bill. There's the Women’s Equality Act and the freedom to choose is one of those planks,” Cuomo said.