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Cuomo unveils women's bill
ALBANY -- Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined a 10 point women's agenda plan, Tuesday, that is being called "sweeping reform" for women.
The bill ranges on issues from equal pay for women, to tougher laws for sex trafficking, to eliminating discrimination against pregnant women and affirming the federal abortion law.
The legislation known as the Women's Equality Act was sent to the state legislature for action.
The bill is drawing criticism over one specific point, abortion. Governor Cuomo says that item should be "the least controversial" issue since it is only affirming a federal law that is in place after a Supreme Court decision on Roe vs. Wade which made abortions nationwide legal.
"It is simple you are either pro choice or you are not," Cuomo said Tuesday at a press conference surrounded by a group of about a dozen women.
The women made up a coalition that helped craft the bill, Cuomo said.
The fact that the law is already in place is confusing to some opponents of that particular piece of the Women's Equality Act bill. The governor is throwing the rest of the women's bill "under the bus" by adding the abortion aspect, said Reverend Jason McGuire, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.
"If he was serious about women's agenda he would be moving many of those points, maybe all nine, and leave out that abortion plank." said McGuire.
"It is unnecessary, it is politically motivated as he looks toward a possible presidential bid," added McGurie.
Governor Cuomo said Tuesday he would like to see the bill passed this legislative session. Despite the fact the abortion part is not something senate republicans agree with, Cuomo says the bill will stay as is and not be broken up.
"We don't believe you have to give up any of the ten," Cuomo said. "We believe all ten are important and we believe you don't have to give up any of the ten."
A spokesman for the senate republicans released a statement Tuesday that said they can agree with most of the bill, however they think the abortion point is a "politic maneuver" that is "wrong for New York".
"We are confident that we can reach agreement with the Governor and Assembly on a bipartisan Women's agenda that provides New York women with equality, safety and financial well-being in the home and in the workplace," the statement said.
It goes on to say, "Introduction of the abortion provision, however, is a political maneuver designed to curry favor with the extremists who want to expand late-term abortion, and open the door to non-physicians performing abortions."