abortion

As the end of the state legislative session in Albany gets closer, one issue that hasn’t made many strides yet, for the second year in a row, is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed ten-point Women’s Equality Act, meant to end discrimination based on gender.

In a swing across Central New York today, Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, says it’s important that New York is be a leader by passing the agenda that ranges from health care to economic issues, because states are where women’s issues are languishing.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO file photo

Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, faces a steep challenge. He’s 30 points behind the well-known incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the polls, and has only a fraction of Cuomo’s record $33 million campaign war chest.  

Astorino is a Republican in a state where Democrats now dominate and independents, not registered in either major party, are gaining ground. But the 47-year-old married father of three says he’s used to being a long shot.

Now that the state budget is in place, lawmakers can turn their attention to more controversial end-of-session issues. That means a return to one of the more contentious items that failed at the end of last year’s session; the Women’s Equality Agenda.

The Women’s Equality Agenda is a ten-point plan that deals with several women’s issues, including a call for equal pay, the end of sexual harassment in workplaces and the strengthening of human sex trafficking laws.

Ellen Abbott

A house that opens its doors to pregnant women who don’t have anywhere to live will soon open on Syracuse's Northside.

Joseph’s House, a project conceived by two women who are anti-abortion, seeks to offer pregnant women in crisis another option besides abortion.

Kitty Spinelli of Skaneatelas and Maria Miller of Fairmount are the founders of Joseph’s House, which is housed in a home more than 100-years-old in an undisclosed location on the city’s Northside.  

They said they are already getting calls about pregnant women who have nowhere to go.

A state ethics board has denied applications from groups on both sides of the abortion debate a request to keep private their donor lists.

The groups, including the pro-choice Family Planning Advocates, and the Christian conservative New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, had argued that making their donor lists public could pose a danger to their contributors because they lobby on controversial issues.  The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, rejected the request from both groups, along with the request by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Women’s Equality Coalition.

Women’s groups rallied outside the New York state Senate chamber, demanding a vote on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point women’s equality act -- that includes an abortion rights provision.

Women’s groups say they have not given up on an abortion rights bill passing in the final days of the legislative session, now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced the Women’s Equality Act as 10 separate bills.

Tracey Brooks, president of Family Planning Advocates of New York State, says women’s groups are asking Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos to bring the abortion rights measure to the floor as a stand alone bill. Brooks says Skelos pledged two years ago to allow what's known as a vote of conscience on social issues where senators are divided.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO

There were several arrests at the state Capitol Tuesday. Advocates took out their anger and frustration on the Cuomo administration and leaders of the state Senate, after it became clear that a progressive agenda that includes abortion rights and public campaign financing is likely dead for the legislative session.

Government reform groups are angry at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying he is giving up too soon on an anti-corruption agenda that includes public financing of campaigns and greater prosecution powers for the state’s district attorneys.   
     

There’s three days left in the legislative session, and chances are dimming for a settlement on an abortion rights provision in a women’s equality act, and for reform of campaign financing and other anti-corruption measures. Meanwhile, a new poll finds the public increasingly dissatisfied with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

As the session winds down, it seems that two of the governor’s top agenda items are doomed in the state Senate.

Women’s groups have agreed to amend abortion rights language in a women’s equality bill to clarify that the late-term abortion procedure known as partial birth abortion will continue to be illegal in New York.

Several Republican senators said they couldn’t support a proposal to codify into New York state law the abortion rights afforded to women in the federal Roe v. Wade decision. They said they feared it would promote late term abortions, including partial birth abortion, which are currently illegal in the U.S.

It’s getting down to the wire for major pieces of legislation as the end of session approaches in Albany, including women’s rights and campaign finance reform. There are no agreements yet, but that’s not unusual in a government that operates on last-minute deals.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is finally releasing legislation for his 10-point women’s agenda. It includes a provision to codify the abortion rights in the federal Roe v. Wade decision into New York state law. The governor says he’s been offered no assurances that it will pass the legislature.

Hundreds of women from a long list of women’s groups came to the Capitol for rally featuring actor Cynthia Nixon, among others. The governor’s plan includes a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment, equal pay provisions, and greater protections for victims of domestic violence and women forced into sex trafficking.

Audio Pending...

There’s three weeks to go in the legislative session, and advocates are pushing hard for two of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s agenda items -- translating the federal abortion rights in the Roe v. Wade decision into New York state law, and enacting public financing of statewide political campaigns.

The governor, meanwhile, is focusing on his proposal to bring tax free zones to upstate public college campuses.

Advocates for public financing of campaigns and advocates of abortion rights are entering the final push for passage of the measures, and are using a variety of tactics to spur action in the state Senate.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

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.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to update New York’s antiquated abortion laws to reflect rights affirmed in the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. But Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos says it goes to far.

State Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos says he’s strongly opposed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reproductive Health Act, saying it would lead to too many late-term abortions. Pro-choice lawmakers and advocates say they disagree with the senator’s interpretation.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for a Women’s Equality Act has been praised by many legislators and women’s groups. But not everybody is applauding.

As Election Day approaches, is there such a thing as a catholic vote?  Catholics make up a quarter of the voting electorate, but they don't vote in lockstep.  Roman Catholic teachings can take a Catholic voter to both ends of the political spectrum.

The candidates running for the 24th congressional district seat offered three distinct choices for voters in the first televised debate featuring all three candidates last night.   The budget deficit,  jobs, and health care reform were major issues discussed in the WCNY studios, but the most pointed comments mirrored a dispute in the campaign over abortion and the definition of rape.

Voters got their only chance to watch the candidates for U.S. Senate from New York State debate last night.  The two candidates tangled  on issues ranging from abortion to hydrofracking.