Andrew Cuomo emerging as women’s champion
by Bonnie Erbe
February 20, 2013 10:20 PM | 1853 views | 6 6 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There are woefully few heroes in politics today. But two have emerged in recent weeks from my home state of New York: Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

I’ve written before about heroic efforts by Bloomberg — an independent who left the Republican Party and was a Democrat before seeking elective office — to take on and clobber the National Rifle Association.

Now Cuomo — the scion of a family that is as Democratic and progressive as they come — has proposed a 10-point bill to codify women’s rights in New York State.

His plan, like Bloomberg’s, is highly controversial. It points a finger at many states that are moving right and eliminating women’s rights, while his plan moves left.

While Cuomo talked about his Women’s Equality Act at his State of the State address in January, he hasn’t formally released a copy of the plan. According to the Gotham Gazette, a nonpartisan online news site covering the policies and politics affecting New York City, the act “would include measures to ensure women equal pay to men, tackle discrimination against women who are pregnant, strengthen laws against human trafficking and set a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment in the workplace.

“But,” the Gotham Gazette continued, “what drew the greatest attention was Cuomo’s proposal to strengthen women’s rights to an abortion through the Reproductive Health Act. The bill, which has been sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins since 2007, would take a woman’s right to an abortion out of New York’s criminal code and make it part of health law, and also (would) allow for late-term abortions if a mother’s health is in danger.”

It takes incredible guts to stand up for women this way, though the governor walked back somewhat on his original plan after conservative and Republican Party outcries.

Except for several Northeastern and West Coast states, including California, most have been moving in the opposite direction since the turn of the millennium. The Alan Guttmacher Institute late last year released a summary of what states have been doing on the abortion front from 2000 and 2011.

True, women’s rights extend way beyond abortion rights. But abortion is still the signal issue that speaks volumes about where states stand on all issues affecting women. The institute took into account whether states had passed any laws affecting the right to choose. They tracked whether a state:

— Mandated parental involvement before a minor’s abortion;

— Required pre-abortion counseling that is medically inaccurate or misleading;

— Extended a waiting period, paired with a requirement that counseling be conducted in person, necessitating two trips to the facility;

— Mandated a non-medically indicated ultrasound before an abortion;

— Prohibited Medicaid funding for an abortion except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest;

— Restricted abortion coverage in private health insurance plans;

— Enacted medically inappropriate restrictions on providing medication abortion;

— Placed on abortion facilities “onerous requirements” not related to patient safety;

— Enacted unconstitutional bans on abortions before fetal viability or limitations on the circumstances under which an abortion can be performed after viability, and/or

— Placed a preemptive ban on abortion outright in the event Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The findings are quite troubling to those who believe a woman should have control over her own reproductive functions.

A substantial number of states shifted from moderately anti-abortion to “overtly hostile,” the Guttmacher Institute reports.

“In 2000, the country was almost evenly divided, with nearly a third of American women of reproductive age living in states solidly hostile to abortion rights, slightly more than a third in states supportive of abortion rights and close to a third in middle-ground states. By 2011, however, more than half of women of reproductive age lived in hostile states.”

So nobody can say that Cuomo is standing up for an easy fix. In fact, New York pundits say he has no better than a 50-50 chance of succeeding — winning passage of the act — in his own state. But at least he’s out there fighting for something that polls show tens of millions of American women want.

Bonnie Erbe, a TV host, writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
February 24, 2013
What would be REALLY progressive is if men had reproductive rights like women have. For instance men should have the right to negate post conception parenthood like women do now. If a man did not want to be a father after conception then he could file notice to that effect and terminate his parental obligations and rights just like women can do today through abortion.
February 21, 2013
What a sick world with leaders like Cuomo. God will be discontinuing the blessings for your state for sure. Libs want to protect the most vulnerable around us, who is more vulnerable than a helpless baby? God's children, he will not stand for this. Another storm coming.
Really strange
February 21, 2013
How twisted can we get as a society to call a man a hero because he thinks its a good idea for a woman to kill her own child while it is helpless in the womb? And what kind of women would do this? It is murder pure and simple.
February 21, 2013
@really strange

I am with you. No one has the right to arbitrarily take another life no matter how old or young.
February 21, 2013
All babies come from God, as a blessing to the parents, parents have a responsibility to raise the children in a Christian way.
February 21, 2013
I would say they are two of the best dictators to come out of the liberal world talk about a war on women and a war on the family unit. You liberals want a women to just blow a whistle while being raped you don’t need a gun. If a car load of Bang gangers pulls up your driveway and comes to get you might want that AR-15 and thirty round clip you’re not going to like what happens to you and a double barrel shotgun won’t cut it either. Keep drinking the Kool Aid or Obama Power Aid I’m sure it comes with a free cell phone.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides