Some Democrats in Albany don’t want to break up the 10-point Women’s Equality Act into separate bills so that the party can use a contentious abortion proposal in upcoming elections, a key lawmaker said Monday after a tense meeting among female Democratic legislators.
More than two dozen Democratic assemblywomen convened Monday afternoon in the offices of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) to discuss strategy about a stalled women’s rights bill Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo introduced last year.
Assembly leaders haven’t agreed to split up the bill because they want the package to pass as a whole. Others such as Assemb. Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale) want to split off the abortion proposal so that more widely supported measures -- such as her bill to combat human trafficking -- can win passage in the politically split Senate.
After the meeting Monday, Paulin said other legislators said they want to use the standoff over abortion to help Democrats win control of the State Senate this fall.
“They want the issue,” Paulin said, meaning they want to use the lack of agreement as a campaign issue.
Paulin and some women’s groups are planning a rally Tuesday at the State Capitol to push for the anti-trafficking bill.
Silver’s office didn’t immediately comment. Last week, Silver spokesman Michael Whyland said: "We support the full Women's Equality Act, as do the vast majority of New Yorkers."
The abortion measure would match state law with the rights spelled out in the Roe v. Wade decision.
Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) has said all the non-abortion proposals would receive broad support.
The Senate currently has 32 Democrats and 29 Republicans. But Republicans control the chamber along with six breakaway Democrats.