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New York Governor Calls For Amending State Constitution To Protect Abortion Rights

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New York Governor Calls For Amending State Constitution To Protect Abortion Rights

Abortion rights

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday he would seek to ensure that women have access to late-term abortions in the state even if conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court remove federal legal guarantees in place since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.

Cuomo, a Democrat who is considered a potential candidate for his party’s 2020 presidential nomination, proposed an amendment to the New York Constitution that he said would preserve the status quo regardless of future Supreme Court rulings.

President Donald Trump, the Republican who took office on Jan. 20, plans to announce a nominee to the Supreme Court on Tuesday. That person, if confirmed, is expected to restore the court’s conservative majority after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

The high court ruled four decades ago that the U.S. Constitution protects the right of a woman to have an abortion until the point of viability.

The court defined that as when the fetus “has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb,” generally at about 24 weeks into pregnancy.

The court also recognized a right to abortion after viability if necessary to protect the woman’s life or health.

If the Supreme Court were to overrule Roe v. Wade, as abortion opponents have long hoped, the procedure would remain legal only where state laws allow it.

In New York, a state law that dates to 1970 legalized abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and afterward only if the woman’s life is at stake, with no exception for health. The law is not enforced, but could be if Roe v. Wade were overruled, abortion advocates say.

The state’s law was “revolutionary back in the day because it legalized abortion before Roe v. Wade, but is now unchanged,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in an interview this month. “The state law is not as protective as Roe,” she said.

Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, which opposes abortion, predicted that Cuomo’s proposal would fail.

“How many abortions are enough?” he said in a statement, noting New York’s high rate of abortions. “No one can credibly claim that access to abortion is under any threat in New York.”

There were 29.6 abortions per 1,000 women in New York in 2014, compared to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women nationally, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that supports abortion rights.

Cuomo told a Planned Parenthood rally in Albany, New York, on Monday that women’s rights were under attack in Washington.

“As they threaten this nation with a possible Supreme Court nominee who will reverse Roe v. Wade,” Cuomo said, according to a transcript provided by his office. “We’re going to protect Roe v. Wade in the State of New York.”

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a legal opinion in September making clear that federal court rulings supersede the state’s 1970 law.

For a constitutional amendment to succeed in New York, majorities in the legislature must approve it twice, in successive terms, and voters must approve it.

Republicans control the New York Senate, although it is possible some Republicans might support such an amendment if pressured by constituents who favor abortion rights, said Costas Panagopoulos, a political scientist at New York’s Fordham University.

Opposition to Trump may galvanize liberals into being aggressive, Panagopoulos said.

“People are scared, and that might compel them to action in a way that different circumstances might have them sitting on the sidelines,” he said.

For years, states have planned for a day when the Supreme Court might overrule Roe v. Wade. Some 19 states have laws that could restrict abortion in that event, while seven have laws that would still guarantee the right to an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Frank McGurty and David Gregorio)

IMAGE: Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, speaks to members of the press at Trump Tower in New York City, U.S. January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith



  1. Just A Citizen February 1, 2017

    Democratic leadership and groups like NOW are going to have to get used to the idea that there will be some restrictions placed on abortions, eventually.

    Such restrictions will in fact be in accordance with Roe v. Wade and will take the form of setting a time period or biological condition which establishes the break point of yes or no on abortion. There will then be caveats created to deal with exceptional cases involving the mother’s life after that break point.

    The American people, a majority, find late term abortion repugnant. Medical science is changing the game, when it comes to the courts.

    If they were smart they would get ahead of this and work to find the compromise position. If they don’t they could create a back lash with outcomes far less desirable.

    1. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017

      Hmmm yes lie back and enjoy rape, where have I heard that before.

      You are garbage.

      1. Just A Citizen February 2, 2017

        Hyperbole Alert.

        Your a misogynist.

        1. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017


        2. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017

          There’s also no reason to use capital letters in “alert”, you illiterate moron.

          1. Just A Citizen February 2, 2017

            Hating on WORDS now too??? You’re a doltish racist.

          2. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017

            Yes I get that you got nothing except impotent projection. After all, you’re so stupid that you think MLK was a conservative. You’re SO STUPID that you think Trump is progressive. And, of course, you are terrified of women and minorities, which is why you posted this pathetic little “now us Nazi traitors are in charge, you have to do what we say!” post in the first place. I prefer my plan: a new civil war, and your fellow traitors swinging from every telephone pole.

            You are garbage and we are coming for you.

          3. Just A Citizen February 2, 2017

            Yer on drugs me thinks.

          4. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017

            OK sorry it took you two hours to come back with that pathetic reply.

          5. Just A Citizen February 2, 2017

            Okee dockie artichichokie.

          6. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017

            See previous post.

          7. I Am Helpy February 2, 2017

            Also, only one question mark is required, you illiterate moron.


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