Gov. Cuomo Demands Senate Reconvene To Vote On Abortion Rights Measure

Jul 10, 2018

Hours before President Trump announced his choice to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, Governor Andrew Cuomo railed against the selection. He also signed an executive order to help protect the reproductive choice rights of New York’s women, should a future court overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Cuomo, speaking at a rally attended by women’s groups who support the right to choose abortion, says the Supreme Court has already become a “rubber stamp” for President Trump, upholding his administration’s travel ban for people from some Muslim-majority countries, and approving what Cuomo says are the President’s “anti-union” sentiments in the recent Janus decision that makes it harder for unions to collect dues from non-members who benefit from union contracts. And he says it’s going to get even worse.

“Mark my words, they are moving to roll back Roe v. Wade, that is going to be the next move by this President,” Cuomo said. “They say it. It’s not like you have to read the tea leaves.”

He says Trump wants to take the nation back 45 years to the early 1970s, before Roe v. Wade was decided.

“Before women had the constitutional legal protection to control their own bodies,” Cuomo said.

The governor signed an executive order that he says will protect women’s reproductive rights by forbidding health care companies from denying coverage for contraceptives.

Cuomo also backs a measure, known as the Reproductive Health Act, or RHA, which would codify the rights in the Roe v. Wade case into New York law. Abortion has been legal in New York since 1970, but advocates for the Reproductive Health Act say the law is limited and outdated, and needs to be modernized.

The RHA passed in the Democratic-led State Assembly, but has stalled in the State Senate, which has been led for the past several years by Republicans, with the help of some breakaway Democrats.

Cuomo accused the Republican senators of drinking “the Trump Kool-Aid.” And he called on the GOP to reconvene at the Capitol and pass the measure, or face consequences in November.

“You either come back and protect a woman’s right to choose and respect a woman’s reproductive health rights,” said Cuomo. “Or the voters are going to say to you in November, ‘You’re with Trump? Well, you’re fired from the New York State Senate.’”  

Critics of the governor, including his Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon, says Cuomo did not do enough during the past few election cycles to get more Democrats elected to the Senate to pass the Reproductive Health Act.

Nixon, along with Democratic Senate candidates who are primarying some of the breakaway Democrats, say Cuomo also tacitly supported the members of the Independent Democratic Conference who helped the GOP maintain control of the Senate. Cuomo denies the accusations.

A spokeswoman for the Senate Republicans, Candice Giove, answered Cuomo’s charges, saying in a statement, that “Women's health issues deserve more than political stunts with stolen one-liners from ‘The Apprentice.’” Giove says the Reproductive Health Act would allow non-doctors to perform abortions and also waters downs rights for pregnant women who are physically abused.

And Giove says Cuomo is so “frightened” of challenger Cynthia Nixon that it’s the governor who has drunk “the Kool-Aid of radicals and socialists who now control the Democratic Party.”