WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life activists in New York are breathing a sigh of relief after the Senate successfully blocked Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill that would have radically expanded abortion in a state already plagued by the highest abortion rate in the union.
A last minute attempt to pass the governor's abortion language as a “hostile amendment” to another Senate bill was defeated by Senate Republicans.
The abortion provision, which was introduced by Cuomo as part of a 10-point omnibus “Women’s Equality Act,” would have expanded abortions into the third trimester for virtually any reason and opened the door to non-medical professionals performing abortions.
The New York Assembly passed the omnibus bill, including the abortion language, yesterday. But earlier this week the Democratic Senate leadership had decided to split the Act into 10 separate bills, after acknowledging that they lacked enough votes to pass it with the abortion language intact, to Gov. Cuomo’s intense displeasure.
While the Senate passed the remaining nine parts of the Act tonight, Assembly Democrats have said they won’t vote to consider the bill in its piecemeal form, without the abortion language.
“I don’t think it’s going to be possible today," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan said. "If they pass a choice bill, I can assure you our members will be back here doing it. If they don’t pass a choice bill, the governor and our members will be in dialogue and determine what route to take.”
In a statement today, the state’s Catholic bishops said the defeat of the last-ditch amendment, “is a remarkable victory for unborn children, as well as vulnerable women and girls who so often face unrelenting societal and family pressure to abort.”
The bishops said the very effort to pass the bill “awoke a sleeping giant” in the state, “a silent pro-life majority that had been discouraged and disheartened from living in the state with the highest abortion rate in the country.”
The bishops also vowed to stay strong and fight any future attempt to pass the abortion language.
Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest also commended the Senate in a statement.
“Education, jobs, and personal safety are women’s issues,” said Dr. Yoest, “but removing the few legal protections that women have in New York should they be harmed by an abortionist does nothing to empower women. Today, the New York Senate has recognized this fact.”
“The trial of Kermit Gosnell which exposed his ‘house of horrors’ illustrates why New York women need legal protection from the abortion industry,” said Dr. Yoest. “By removing all restrictions on the Big Abortion Industry in New York, women would be less safe.”
Earlier this week, Cuomo had said he especially wanted to force a vote on abortion expansion so that voters know where lawmakers stand on abortion, an issue he said he plans to highlight during his own re-election campaign in 2014.
"New York is the last place where women's rights should be held back; it is the place where they must move forward," Mr. Cuomo said in a news release Tuesday night.