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Women's Equality Act stalls in Senate over abortion

ALBANY, NY - JUNE 16: The New York State Senate debates legislation in the Senate chamber on June 16, 2011 in Albany, New York.  The Senate is expected to vote on a bill that would legalize gay marriage as soon as tomorrow.  (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images) (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

The New York State Assembly passed The Women's Equality Act on Thursday only to see it stall in the Senate on Friday, the final day of the legislative session, as Republicans refused to take up a controversial tenth point of the bill that dealt with abortion.

The measure, the Women's Reproductive Health Act, would have amended state law to allow late-term abortion when there is a risk to the mother's health, as opposed to the existing law which allows such abortions only in extreme cases when the mother's life is in danger.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he would not attempt to break apart the legislation and re-introduce the othernine measures separately, meaning the Women's Equality Act is off the table until the next session begins next year.

Some of the other nine measures that would have otherwise gone forward mandated equal pay for equal work and increased some protections for victims of domestic violence.

Physicians for Reproductive Health consulting medical director Dr. Anne Davis issued a statement in which she took the Senate to task for its failure to pass the provision.

“The New York State Senate dealt a blow to the women of New York and the doctors who care for them," Davis said. "As physicians, we have witnessed serious erosions of reproductive health care in state after state as medically unjustifiable laws drastically restrict abortion."

"In New York, we had the chance to buck the trend, to codify Roe v. Wade and to ensure that abortion remains available to save a woman’s health. Instead of being leaders on this critical issue, our State Senate rejected this important bill."

Follow Emily Johnson on Twitter @emilyjreports

 
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