Cuomo's op-ed piece lists several facts about the Women's Equality Act and New York's laws regarding reproductive rights and women's equality. Give it a read whenever you have a chance. According to the New York Governor's website, here's what the Women's Equality Act:Over 150 years ago, the women's suffrage movement began in America at the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Since then, New York has been at the forefront of important social and legal movements that have advanced the equal treatment of all people. Over the years, however, New York has fallen behind in its role as a progressive leader on women's rights. The Women's Equality Act, which I will introduce today, is designed to address gender inequality in our communities, and to restore New York as a leader in women's rights.
The law in New York, however, was not amended after Roe, making it outdated and inconsistent with federal law. The Women's Equality Act codifies in state law the reproductive rights afforded by Roe. At the same time, I support and respect religious freedom and therefore our bill does not change any existing state and federal laws that permit a health care provider from refraining from providing an abortion due to religious or moral beliefs.
Contrary to the opposition's assertion, this language in no way expands abortion rights but only codifies federal law. This is important because the Supreme Court could change in compositions, or opinion, and New York works to protect women's right to choose.
For too long New York's laws have not properly protected women's rights. These are significant problems, and big issues to tackle. But in New York, that's what we have always done. And as long as I'm Governor, that's what we will continue to do. Join me in supporting the Women's Equality Act now, because another year is too long to wait. - Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D. NY), Huffington Post, 6/4/13
The Women's Equality Act will:You can read the bill here:
Achieve Pay Equity
Stop Sexual Harassment in All Workplaces
Allow for the Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees in Employment and Credit and Lending Case
Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws
End Family Status Discrimination
Stop Source-of-Income Discrimination
Stop Housing Discrimination for Victims of Domestic Violence
Stop Pregnancy Discrimination Once and For All
Protect Victims of Domestic Violence by Strengthening Order-of-Protection Law
Protect a Woman’s Freedom of Choice
The Women's Equality Act has received great support from activists and politicians and is highly favored by the public:
But it also has a lot of pressure to kill it in his tracks:State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), supported the bill in a statement, saying, “Women’s health and equality is not a Republican or Democratic issue… The women of New York deserve a vote on the entire Women’s Equality Act and deserve to know where their elected officials stand on these important issues.” Her sentiments are also echoed by New York voters according to a recent poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The poll, which featured responses from 1,075 New York voters questions between May 29 and June 3, found that two-thirds of voters support the Women’s Equality Act including the abortion provision. The poll also found that men and women were closely aligned in their opinion, with 67% of women and 66% of men favoring the bill. - Feminist Majority Foundation Blog, 6/6/13
But yesterday, the Women's Equality Act received a two huge endorsements:With significant political pressure from pro-life and “profoundly distressed” groups like the Catholic Church, Senate Republicans could simply block the bill from coming to the floor. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, called the abortion plank "a political maneuver designed to curry favor with the extremists who want to expand late-term abortion ... and open the door to non-physicians performing abortions."
However, the Republican votes needed to block this bill might not be there , since New York's Senate Republicans have already stepped outside party lines on a number of issues, including a controversial gun-control bill earlier this year. Although he has “no assurance” that this bill would pass in the Senate with the abortion provision included, Cuomo is not fazed. "I think there are certain Republicans who are pro-choice Republicans … And if you are a pro-choice Republican, you will support this."
Based on the pressure from several hundred of the bill's supporters who rallied in Albnay's West Capitol Park — including state lawmakers, actress-advocate Cynthia Nixon, and feminist leaders including Sarah Weddington, the plaintiff’s attorney in the landmark Roe case— we will likely see some version of the Women's Equality Act passed. However, the bill faces a much more difficult run if the abortion affirmation stays tacked on. Without any compromise or a decision to break the bill down into parts, the rest of its lofty goals may suffer a fate of constant rejection in the Senate. - Policy Mic, 6/8/13
If you live in New York and support the Women's Equality Act, please put the pressure on the New York State Senate to pass the bill:House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and six New York congresswomen announced Friday that they support the Women's Equality Act proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Pelosi praised Cuomo for introducing the 10-point plan, which includes provisions to address pay equity for women and end sexual harassment in the workplace.
"The Women's Equality Act will go a long way towards ensuring that women are treated respectfully and fairly in the state of New York," Pelosi said in a statement provided by Cuomo's office. "I applaud the governor for creating such a comprehensive reform package, and I am looking forward to its passage in the coming months."Wasserman Schultz also lauded Cuomo for proposing the Women's Equality Act. She referred to the legislation as "groundbreaking."
"Nearly 165 years since the first women’s rights convention took place in Seneca Falls, Governor Cuomo has once again placed New York at the forefront of women’s equality with the announcement of his groundbreaking 10 point Women’s Equality Act," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. "Women in New York earn only 84 cents for every dollar earned by men, amounting to $500,000 less over the course of a lifetime. Given this inequality, it is no surprise that women are twice as likely as men to live out old age in poverty."
The Women's Equality Act was also endorsed by six New York congresswomen — Reps. Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy, Grace Meng, Louise Slaughter and Nydia Velazquez. - Auburn Pub, 6/7/13