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Cuomo Introduces Women's Equality Act

Alongside members of the Women's Equality Coalition, Governor Cuomo introduced The Women's Equality Act Legislation on Tuesday.

It's a ten point agenda that's aimed at restoring gender equality and includes stopping sexual harassment and strengthening human  trafficking laws.

Also on that agenda, what Governor Cuomo calls protecting a woman's freedom of choice.

The Governor is proposing changing the state abortion law to make it consistent with the federal law.

Under the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, it is federal law that a woman can chose to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability throughout her pregnancy when it's necessary to preserve her life or health.

"We affirm a women's right to choose and we affirm a woman's right to choose in Roe v. Wade in this great state of New York and we want to codify that law and the Women's Equality Agenda will do that," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo stressed this is not an expansion of the state's current abortion law, but about protecting a women's right to choose.

Current state law says an abortion can only be performed before
24 weeks.

Supporters of the new legislation say it's crucial to make this change.

"This is in no way an expansion.  It's really a protection of existing abortion rights," said Debra Marcus, CEO of Family Panning of South Central New York.  "The current New York law only says if a mothers life is in jeopardy.  That a woman's health means things like she might of had a stroke . She might have gone into renal failure.  Really, really major health concerns."

But pro-life organizations worry the "health exception" could be broadly interpreted and third trimester abortion could become commonplace in the state.

"Other states have instituted different protections for unborn children and their mothers," said Lori Kehoe of New York State Right To Life.  "So this is really the opposite of progressive. This is really going backwards . This isn't the lead New York should take," .

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