Opponents of a measure in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed Women’s Equality Act that would codify women’s abortion rights are asking the governor to allow the bill to be made public, LoHud reported.
Cuomo first mentioned the bill in his State of the State address and then brought it up again on Sunday at a reception for the Black, Puerto-Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.
While answering questions regarding the new bill, he cautioned that it was not the same as the controversial Reproductive Health Act that for years has failed to pass in the state Senate, pointing out that it falls more in line with existing federal law.
“Be careful when you give it a name because that suggests it’s likened to another bill,” said Cuomo. “This is going to be a separate position, and all this position does is codify the federal law. I can’t say it enough.”
In addition to making abortion rights legal to the standards of the U.S. Supreme Court law, the current version of the bill would crack down on illegal sex trafficking and pregnancy discrimination while ensure equal pay for women.
Still, conservative and Catholic church groups are challenging Cuomo to make the entire plan available for a public hearing and allow for an adequate debate on its provisions.
“The governor ought to put the bill out there, if he has a bill, and let people see what it is instead of this secrecy, which we’ve seen so much of lately,” said Dennis Poust, director of communications for the state Catholic conference.
Cuomo said the purpose of passing the abortion portion of the bill would be to guarantee New York women the rights they have now should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade: “It could happen,” he said, “and if you have a state law, you’re protected.”