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Cuomo urges legislature to enact abortion rights law

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade in its next term, women in New York State will have no protections under the law guaranteeing access to abortions, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called on the State Legislature to return to Albany to vote to codify Roe vs. Wade in state law.

“New York law does not have the protections Roe vs. Wade does,” Cuomo said in Dyker Heights Friday morning

Cuomo came to Southwest Brooklyn to issue a warning to pro-choice supporters to prepare for the possibility of a new right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling granting abortion rights nationwide.

President Donald Trump recently nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge with a conservative reputation, to become the newest Supreme Court justice to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Cuomo, who spoke to a crowd of supporters, local elected officials and pro-choice advocates at Sirico Catering on 13th Avenue, predicted that if Kavanaugh is confirmed by the U.S. Senate and takes a seat on the nation’s highest court, Roe vs. Wade will be thrown out.

“They are going to overturn Roe vs. Wade, period. That is what they are going to do,” the governor said. “They will roll back the clock.”

Admitting that pro-choice women are facing “a frightening time,” Cuomo said the consequences of the actions taken by the right-leaning Trump Administration will be dire. “What you do with your body, they want to dictate through the law,” he said.

Roe vs. Wade was so long ago, 45 years, that people have become accustomed to having reproductive rights, Cuomo said. Young women have no memory of a time when abortion was illegal, he said.

To protect their rights, reproductive freedom has to be codified in law, he said. “It’s not in the Bible. It’s not in the Constitution,” he said.

New York State had an abortion rights law in place even before the Roe vs. Wade decision.

Back in 1970, three years before the Supreme Court issued its ruling, New York State passed a law granting women the right to obtain abortions.

Cuomo noted that, at the time, the state had a Republican governor (Nelson Rockefeller) and that the State Senate and State Assembly both had Republican majorities and many GOP lawmakers were Conservatives who generally oppose abortion.

Yet, New York became the first state in the continental U.S. to pass a sweeping pro-choice law. Hawaii was the first state in the nation to do so.

The law passed because Republicans at the time were people of conscience, Cuomo said.

Cuomo called on current Republican lawmakers to take similar action. “I say to the Republicans, show conscience and courage. Go back to Albany and vote as a matter of conscience. Go take the vote,” he said.

The GOP operates with a majority in the State Senate. The Assembly is dominated by Democrats.

New York State will need to take action here if Kavanaugh is confirmed, pro-choice supporters said. But, while pro-choice supporters have expressed opposition to the Kavanaugh nomination, pro-life groups are elated.

The National Right to Life Committee, the country’s largest pro-life organization, commended Trump on the nomination.

All too often, democratically enacted laws to protect unborn children and other vulnerable humans have been overridden by judges who abuse their power to impose their own policy preferences,” National Right to Life President Carol Tobias said in a statement. “Judge Kavanaugh’s record, viewed as a whole, indicates a willingness to enforce the rights truly based on the text and history of the Constitution, while otherwise leaving policymaking in the hands of elected legislators.”

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