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Effort to Strengthen Abortion Rights in New York Fails Amid Bipartisan Pushback

Robin Marty

A new bill to support women's rights in New York State has been stripped of an amendment that would codify the right to an abortion.

A ten-point plan that was meant to support equality between men and women in New York is now a nine-point plan, as a group of “breakaway” Democrats in the state senate have sided with the state’s Republicans to ensure the failure of a measure that would reinforce abortion rights.

As one portion of the Women’s Equality Act, the Reproductive Health Act would have stripped abortion from the criminal code and inserted it instead into the health code, established a state-declared right to an abortion that would be unaffected should the national right established by Roe v. Wade ever be overturned, and established that after 24 weeks pregnancies can be terminated for the sake of a person’s health, not just if the pregnant person’s life is in danger, as the law currently states.

But the abortion plank was removed from the rest of the platform by a group of Democrats who have sided with the state’s Republican senators to control legislation in the body. According to the New York Times, state Sen. Jeffrey D. Klein (D-Bronx) introduced a new version of the bill that did not include the reproductive rights language, saying, “I’m not going to bring a bill to the floor to fail.” He referred to senate Republicans as a “right-to-life conference” that would never pass the bill as it was originally written.

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