Cuomo seeks change to state abortion laws

cuomo
Governor Andrew Cuomo is putting the final touches on legislation that would ease state limits on late-term abortions. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

In his State of the State speech recently, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan for a 10-point Women’s Equality Act.

The points related to a number of issues, from equal pay to stricter repercussions for sexual harassment in the workplace, but the governor saved what is likely the most contentious point for number 10: enacting a Reproductive Health Act “protect[ing] a woman’s freedom of choice.”

The governor did not expand on what that would entail, though his office confirmed that, broadly, it would involve removing abortion from New York state penal law, and regulating it through the state’s public health law instead, as well as augmenting the criteria under which late-term abortions are permitted.

Late-term abortions are those performed more than 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

Currently, New York state law allows late-term abortions in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Federal law permits late-term abortions in those cases as well, but also includes cases where there is a threat to the mother’s health, or the fetus is non-viable.

Doctors who perform abortions in the latter cases are protected by federal law, even if the abortions occur in New York state.

Opponents of the bill are referring to it as the Abortion Expansion Act, prompting the governor to repeatedly insist that his law “doesn’t change the legal parameters whatsoever” as it only “codifies [federal policy] as New York state law.”

However, when pressed, the Governor conceded that “the point of having it in the state law is if the Supreme Court ever made a different decision,” referring to the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationally in 1973.

“Maybe not this year, but it could happen, and if you have a state law, you’re protected,” Cuomo explained.

The law would be significant nationally, as the last two years have seen a record number of laws restricting abortion access on the state level, according to a policy review from the Guttmacher Institute.

In 2012, 19 states passed a total of 43 provisions restricting abortion, while no laws were enacted to facilitate or increase access to abortion.

Abortion rights advocates praised the proposal for bucking this trend.

“At a time when the vast majority of legislation introduced that relates to women’s health seeks to restrict, [Cuomo's] proposal stands out,” said Deborah Jacobs, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at the Ms. Foundation for Women. “Not only is a step in the right direction, it reflects the values of most Americans when it comes to women’s health and safety.”

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Broncos No. 1, Seahawks slip,…

NFL Power Rankings: Broncos No. 1, Seahawks slip, Eagles, Bills, Patriots climb. The Cardinals, Bills, Chargers and Packers are also featured in the top 10.

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

Wellbeing

Suicide study finds surprising link to sunshine

Scientists have found a link between sunlight and suicide rates — but not in the way you’d expect. As summer winds down, concern turns to…

Wellbeing

NYC's doctor-patient ratio is highest of any US…

Seeing a primary care physician is getting more difficult across the country, but new data shows just how bad the problem is — particularly in…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Beverly Hills 'Housewives' star Kyle Richards gets real…

  In the upcoming fifth season of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” fans will see a more confident Kyle Richards. The actress started noticing…