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

Police seek mother of slain 11-year-old on involuntary…

Police are seeking the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was accidentally shot to death by her 2-year-old brother two weeks ago on involuntary manslaughter…

Local

Chestnut Hill College student found dead Wednesday morning

A 22-year-0ld Chestnut Hill College student was found dead this morning inside a college dormitory, police said.

International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Going Out

Get down and dirty at these neighborhood dives

Philly's got its share of innovative gastropubs and seen-and-be-seen drinking establishments with inventive cocktails served in mason jars. But sometimes we just want a shot…

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.