Cuomo pushes for women's rights in Seneca Falls

Jun 6, 2013

Gov. Andrew Cuomo used the spot where the women's rights movement was born to lobby for his proposed Women's Equality Agenda.

Cuomo, a Democrat, concentrated on the nine parts of the plan that attacks things like workplace discrimination and the pay inequity between men and woman, while protesters outside focused on the abortion portion of the plan.

The Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls is a noteworthy place in the history of the women's rights movement, and it was here the governor won a standing ovation from the women's groups supporting his agenda.

Cuomo told the crowd that it is no secret that there is discrimination against women in this state, and the ten-point agenda, if approved by the state Legislature, would stop that.

"We will not tolerate discriminating against women in the state of New York in any manner, shape, or form," Cuomo said.

There was one point that Cuomo did not mention, the tenth of his plan, that protects reproductive health and the choice to abort a pregnancy.

Protestors gather outside of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push for women's rights in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
Protestors gather outside of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's push for women's rights in Seneca Falls, N.Y.
Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The tenth point is what brought out dozens of anti-abortion protesters, who stood across the street from the Wesleyan Chapel. One of the protestors, Alberta Patterson David from Schuyler Lake, is opposed to the portion of the legislation that deals with a women's right to have an abortion.

"This is not a real choice. Nobody wants to kill their kids," Patterson David said. "This is from the Dark Ages."

Cuomo admits he doesn't have support in the Legislature right now to pass the legislation, and says the women's organizations that support it want all ten points included in the legislation, and he defers to a women's coalition that he says represents the entire state.

"I've never seen this kind of grass roots women's effort before," Cuomo later told reporters. "So they're all united, and there are ten points to the agenda, and they want all ten points passed."

The legislation also requires equal pay for women, puts more bite into protections for victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking, and establishes tighter policies for sexual harassment.