News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics
Despite promised tweaks, GOP will still block abortion proposal
Republicans won’t change their minds and allow a vote on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s proposal to strengthen abortion rights, even if he adjusts it to address late-term abortion, an official said Thursday.
"From the start, we've said that what the governor is proposing is either unnecessary or an extreme measure that expands late-term abortion,” said Kelly Cummings, spokeswoman for Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). “Nothing has changed.”
As part of a 10-point “women’s agenda,” Cuomo has proposed codifying under state law the abortion rights currently guaranteed on the federal level by the Roe v. Wade court decision. The proposal has been a lightning rod for the package of legislation, which includes other widely supported ideas such as reducing human trafficking and cracking down on sexual harassment.
As Newsday reported Wednesday, abortion-rights activists said Cuomo will add language to his proposal to specifically address the GOP’s criticism that it possibly expands access to late-term or so-called partial-birth abortions.
Even so, Skelos remains opposed to allowing the Senate to vote on the proposal. He’s said it unnecessary for the state to address Roe v. Wade at this time.
Cummings said Republicans were “confident” they could reach agreements on the other points of the “women’s agenda.”
Abortion-rights supporters said Skelos and other Republicans have mischaracterized the proposal.
“There is absolutely nothing in the [proposal] that would allow for ‘partial-birth’ abortion’ because it is already banned nationwide,” said Andrea Miller, president of NARAL Pro-Choice NY.