Welcome to New York, Sandy!

As New York hunkers down for Hurricane Sandy, I want to let her know how we treat women up here–even powerful, independent women who don’t cross their legs, redirect their gale force winds off-shore, or otherwise behave like the little ladies so popular with our male Republican candidates these days.

1) We respect a woman’s right to control her reproductive destiny: New York legalized abortion before Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land.

2) While many of the country’s legislators are dreaming up new ways to demean women, we have New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins introducing the Reproductive Health Act, with eighteen co-sponsors. Its purpose: to provide a fundamental right to choose contraception and the right of a female to determine the course of a pregnancy; to authorize abortion prior to viability; and to decriminalize abortion.  [Read more...]

New York Reproductive Health Act in Peril

Reproductive health rights are in jeopardy in New York. I’m not a New Yorker, but apparently they’ve been witnessing some kind of a political circus over the past week. Last Wednesday the New York Senate was poised to vote on the Reproductive Health Act, and chaos ensued. Here’s Kelli Conlin, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, describing what happened:

Because last Wednesday, the Reproductive Health Act — landmark legislation to codify Roe vs. Wade in New York — was scheduled to be voted upon in the Senate. NARAL Pro-Choice New York and other advocates had commitments from 34 senators, across party lines, to pass a clean, amendment-free bill.

With passage of this legislation, every woman in New York would have been assured that her fundamental right to choose abortion would be protected. Critically, the Reproductive Health Act would also have clarified that a woman would be allowed to have an abortion if her health or life was endangered. The bill, which has been loudly debated for three years, was going to be voted on quietly and respectfully so that each senator could fully vote his or her conscience. [Read more...]