by Ben Johnson
ALBANY, NY, June 17, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A controversial provision that would have struck down late-term abortion restrictions in New York state has died in the state senate. The measure, which would have radically expanded abortion-on-demand for reasons of “health,” among other changes, was the tenth point of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Women's Equality Act.
However, just after midnight last night, the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) introduced the other nine planks – and others of its own creation – while ignoring the abortion language.
Governor Cuomo struck out at the IDC during a public radio interview on Monday, vowing a bruising political fight against the group's four members.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
“They decided, by their actions, to deal with it in an election contest. I think it is a serious mistake," Cuomo said on “The Capitol Pressroom” show. “This is going to be an electoral decision, and it’s going to be in the re-election campaigns of these senators.”
The New York legislative session ends on Thursday, making it a practical certainty that the abortion provisions will not be reintroduced, let alone passed this session.
The governor, who is widely considered a contender for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, equated party membership with support for abortion rights, dismissing Sen. Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Valesky and David Carlucci as only “theoretical Democrats.”
However, Klein made it clear his decision to drop the pro-abortion provisions was not an ideological question but a recognition that with the abortion provisions intact the bill would fail in the State Senate.
“The IDC would like nothing more than to bring this provision to the floor, but the votes just are not there,” Klein said.
After meeting with the governor, Klein said, “I’m still holding out hope that we can get all 10 done.” He added that all four members of the IDC, which shares control of the Senate with the Republican Party, call themselves “pro-choice.”
After it was introduced by Cuomo, Senate Republicans had vowed to block the abortion measure, with Minority Leader Dean Skelos saying through a spokesman that the Republicans “will not consent to bringing that measure to the floor.”
Skelos had added that Republicans support the rest of the bill's other nine aims, which include increased measures to tackle human trafficking.
Last week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan stated that the state's Catholics would also support nine of the 10 points of the Women's Equality Act, but abortion made the bill toxic.
“This legislation would add a broad and undefined 'health' exception for late-term abortion and would repeal the portion of the penal law that governs abortion policy,” he said, “opening the door for non-doctors to perform abortions and potentially decriminalizing even forced or coerced abortions.”
New York State Right to Life slammed the bill as "a Trojan Horse - a beautifully gift-wrapped package of death and destruction."
Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life (AUL) said that if the bill passes, "New York will be sanctioning unrestricted, virtually unregulated, and taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, making it the most radically pro-abortion state in the nation."
Jewish community activists also opposed the bill.
“Advances in medical technology like sonograms have confirmed what common-sense morality has advised all along, that a growing and developing fetus in a mother's womb is a living human being who deserves protection," said Dovid Z. Schwartz, the director of Community Guardians Group.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has said the bill is DOA in the lower chamber without its abortion provision. "It's unacceptable. We agree with the governor,” said Silver's spokesman Michael Whyland. “We won't accept anything without the 10 points.”
The deletion is a major setback for the governor, who said none of the WEA's proposals could be considered expendable. Cuomo said while unveiling the bill, “I see it almost as a bill of rights.”