Our own Meghan Clark has already clearly and brilliantly detailed the feminist problems with New York Governor Cuomo’s so-called Women’s Equity Act (WEA). The bill tried to pass late term abortion expansion by connecting it with some very, very important (and broadly supported) legislation. Remarkably, Cuomo offered the WEA in a session during which he proposed a budget which defunded successful programs supporting young, poor mothers in New York state. As Meghan and Sidney Callhan point out, abortion is often seen (especially by men) as the solution to finding ways of cutting resources to women who would prefer to keep their children. This kind of “choice” leads to anything but freedom.
Happily, and unexpectedly, the WEA was defeated in the NY state senate; not because of the 9 important feminist provisions (which look to be passed separately), but because of the late term abortion provision. Even so, abortion rights supporters tried to get in the abortion provision via a hostile amendment late last night. The amendment was defeated, but just barely with a 32-31 vote. It would not have been defeated without the votes of two courageous pro-life Democrats–including Ruben Diaz, Jr. who argued passionately against it from the floor:
It is well known that Diaz Sr., a Bronx Democrat and Pentecostal minister, is anti-abortion. During his speech, he echoed a familiar argument from the right – that New York is the “abortion capital” of the nation – and said rates are particularly high in black and Latino neighborhoods. Diaz Sr. accused abortion providers of “making money” off low-income women of color.
This was the response of the NY State Catholic Conference:
The failure of a last-ditch hostile amendment to try to effect passage of the Abortion Expansion Act is a remarkable victory for unborn children, as well as vulnerable women and girls who so often face unrelenting societal and family pressure to abort….We are grateful to Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) for his steadfast opposition to this bill, and to the members of his Republican conference who were united with him in that position, as well as to the two pro-life Democrats who denied the abortion proponents a majority in the Senate….In the meantime, positive legislation to enhance women’s dignity were long held hostage to the abortion expansion agenda. We are pleased that the Senate is now poised to pass the other nine planks of Gov. Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, and we call on the Assembly to do the same. These measures include protections for victims of sexual harassment, domestic violence and human trafficking, and should never have been used as a pawn to pass legislation that cannot stand on its own.