Columns

Cuomo, Clinton Team Up to Push Rapid Passage of N.Y. Abortion Guarantee

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rally to immediately pass the Reproductive Health Act at Barnard College on Jan. 7, 2019, in New York City. (mpi43/MediaPunch /IPX)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is vowing to make abortion a constitutional right in his state by saying he won’t approve a budget if the legislature fails to pass the Reproductive Health Act and Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act.

Former New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is joining Cuomo in his push to get the bill passed in the next 30 days; it’s part of Cuomo’s “Justice Agenda” that he wants to see happen in the first 100 days of the legislative session, which begins Wednesday.

New York state Dems have said they want to pass the legislation in time for the Jan. 22 Roe v. Wade anniversary. Four days before the anniversary is the March for Life in Washington.

Cuomo argues that putting abortion rights in his state’s constitution is necessary “in this tumultuous time.” State senate Republicans have blocked the effort, including passage of the bill last year in the state assembly, but lost the majority in November elections.

“It is critical that we codify the Roe v. Wade decision into state law, and to take it a step further, we will fight to pass a constitutional amendment that writes into the constitution a provision protecting a woman’s right to protect her own reproductive health,” Cuomo said Monday. “We will pass it, put it on the ballot, we will write it into the constitution and we will be able to say we have protected women’s rights in a way no one has before.”
The Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act would make permanent Cuomo’s 2018 executive order stating that health insurers must provide free contraceptives under state policies.

Joining Cuomo at Barnard College in Manhattan, Clinton declared that “our right to make the most deeply personal decision is facing the most significant threat in recent memory.”

New state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said her priorities include the abortion legislation, climate change, criminal justice reform, healthcare and voting rights.