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Bonacic seen as key in Women’s Equality Act; Abortion issue is a sticking point

Senator John Bonacic
Contributed photo

By Fritz Mayer
June 5, 2013

ALBANY, NY — One of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s priorities this year has been the passage of his Womens’ Equality Act (WEA). The act, which has a 10-point agenda, contains language on abortion that was introduced by Cuomo on June 1, and codifies the Roe V. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court into New York State law.

On June 4, Cuomo published an article on www.huffing, explaining his bill which said, “Contrary to the opposition’s assertion, this language in no way expands abortion rights but only codifies federal law. This is important because the Supreme Court could change in composition, or opinion, and New York works to protect women’s right to choose.”

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has said he will not vote for the act because of the abortion issue. According to multiple reports, Skelos and other Republicans consider the proposed abortion language unnecessary, and have been concerned that Cuomo’s bill would expand access to late-term abortions.

After the bill was unveiled, the Reverend Jason J. McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms said, “the proposed Women’s Equality Act does indeed include late-term abortion expansion language.”

On May 30, the New York Civil Liberties Union identified Senator John Bonacic as having a key vote and perhaps ensuring passage if he votes in favor of the act. Donna Lieberman, the executive director, sent an email to residents in Bonacic’s district that said, “Your senator has yet to decide how to vote. You can make the difference. Contact Senator Bonacic today and tell him to vote YES on the Women’s Equality Agenda.”

On June 4, before the unveiling of the bill, Bonacic’s spokesperson Jessica M. Cherry, Esq. sent a statement in response to a request for comment. It said, “Senator Bonacic wrote the Women’s Health and Wellness Act—one of, if not the most comprehensive women’s healthcare law in the nation. In fact, it has been recognized as one of the most important women’s laws in the state in decades.

“The flyer you emailed is just that—a flyer with a slogan. Governor Cuomo has yet to release any proposed legislation on his much-discussed Women’s Equality Act. That said, issues such as ending wage discrimination, expanding protections for sexual harassment, better protections against housing and employment discrimination, helping eliminate human trafficking and fair lending practices are very sensible and Senator Bonacic strongly supports them.

The 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act:

  • Protect a Woman’s Freedom of Choice
  • Achieve Pay Equity
  • Stop Sexual Harassment in All Workplaces
  • Allow for the Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees in Employment and Credit and Lending Cases
  • Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws
  • End Family Status Discrimination
  • Stop Source-of-Income Discrimination
  • Stop Housing Discrimination for Victims of Domestic Violence
  • Stop Pregnancy Discrimination Once and for All
  • Protect Victims of Domestic Violence by Strengthening Order-of-Protection Laws