ALBANY — Now controlling both houses of the State Legislature, Democrats introduced a long-stalled abortion-rights bill Friday and said they’d pass it by the anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade court decision, Jan. 22.
Supporters say the bill would codify into state law rights guaranteed by Roe V. Wade and was necessary because a new U.S. Supreme Court majority could threaten abortion protections.
"With reproductive rights and access under attack from Washington in a way we haven’t seen in decades, now is the time to pass the Reproductive Health Act and reclaim New York’s place as a leader on women’s reproductive freedom,” State Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) said, referring to the sponsors’ title for the abortion bill.
The Democrat-dominated Assembly has approved the bill annually for several years. But it always stalled in the Republican-led State Senate.
On Election Day, however, Democrats seized a commanding 40-23 State Senate majority and vowed to rapidly approve an array of “progressive” bills dealing with abortion, criminal justice, voting rights and guns.
“With our new partners in the Senate, we look forward to finally making the Reproductive Health Act the law of the land in New York,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said.
Democrats said a number of votes likely would be tied to high-profile anniversaries, such as Roe v. Wade and the Parkland school massacre on Feb. 14.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, also a Democrat, has called for passage of the abortion-rights bill during the first 30 days of the 2019 legislative session.
State Senate Republicans didn’t immediately comment Friday.