Central New York group pushing for Women's Equality Act

May 8, 2013

Supporters of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 10-point Women's Equality Act are ramping up efforts to get support for the proposed legislation. The  Women's Equality Coalition just launched a statewide television ad to raise awareness about the agenda, and supporters in one small central New York County are also raising their voices.

There is now a Cortland Area New York Women's Equality Coalition, which joins other similar groups across the state. The Equality Agenda pushes for pay equity and addresses discrimination issues in the workplace, among other things. And that's something that could really help women in Cortland county, with it's continued double-digit unemployment and economic losses of recent years, says Amy Simrell of the Cortland YWCA.

"And when you look at the inequities in women's working and men working, you can't help but see if women could be equally recognized partners in the economy, we would have a different economy," said Simrell.

The most controversial part of the Women's Equality Agenda involves abortion.  Rev. Tomi Jacobs-Ziobro of the United Church of Christ in Homer,   suggests the legislation, the language of which hasn't been made public yet,  simply aligns New York law with federal law.

"This part of the agenda isn't going to do anything but move the current laws regarding abortion from the criminal code and 1970 pre-Roe v. Wade, into the health code, which is where laws regarding health care should be," she said.

Jacobs-Ziobro and others say the ten-point agenda should be passed in one piece. It's questionable whether the act has the support it needs to get through the state Senate, because of  the abortion component.