Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cuomo prepping abortion rights legislation

Posted by on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Abortion rights opponents are pressuring Governor Andrew Cuomo to publicly release an abortion rights bill he plans to propose, says an article from Gannett's Albany bureau.

That is, if he has a bill, they stipulate. During his State of the State Address last month, Cuomo called on the legislature to pass a Women's Equality Act. He's said that the package of legislation would include a measure to codify the abortion rights guaranteed under current federal law.

Cuomo is hardly the first governor or lawmaker to propose revamping New York's abortion laws. Currently, abortions are regulated under state penal law. But they are medical procedures and, as such, should be covered under state health laws, say abortion-rights supporters. Previous legislation has sought to do that, but has stalled in the Legislature.

Historically, abortion-rights opponents have made dishonest claims about legislation aimed at protecting a woman's right to choose. For example, they claimed that the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act opened the door to dentists and podiatrists performing abortions, even though it did no such thing.

I support abortion rights, and I think Cuomo may have something to gain by taking any abortion-rights legislation to the public. He's said his bill doesn't seek to expand abortion rights, just protect the ones that are already there. He'll need to explain to the public how the bill does that. And he'll need to be prepared to counter any claims that abortion rights opponents toss out.

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