NARAL Pro-Choice New York, Family Planning Advocates of New York State and Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York, and the New York Civil Liberties Union today applauded Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing the women’s equality bills passed during the 2015 legislative session, and urged elected officials to turn their attention to addressing the remaining impediments to women’s health, rights and equality.
The bills signed by the Governor today are intended to combat sexual harassment, human trafficking, and pregnancy and family status discrimination, while providing greater protections for victims of domestic violence and achieving pay equity, among other advancements to women’s equality. The final bill of the original Women’s Equality package, which would have protected women's fundamental right to decide to end a pregnancy, was passed by the Assembly but blocked by the Senate.
“We applaud the Governor for signing these bills into law. Their success represents the culmination of years of tireless efforts by legislators and advocates working to improve the lives of New York’s women and families,” said NARAL Pro-Choice New York President Andrea Miller. “This success proves that it is possible to pass proactive legislation and highlights that lawmakers’ work on behalf of women is not done – particularly as we face an historic assault on women’s access to contraception and abortion, which will only intensify as the 2016 elections heat up. It remains incumbent upon New York to establish protections for access to abortion and other reproductive health services in our own state laws, and we look forward to the Governor’s support as we engage the legislature to protect access to contraception and move New York’s abortion laws into the 21st century.”
“This is a moment to celebrate, but it is a first step, not a final destination,” said Lauren Tobias, president and CEO of Family Planning Advocates of New York State and Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York. “There were important aspects of the package left undone, including New York state protections for a woman’s ability to access abortion services, which is becoming increasingly fragile across the country. We look forward to working with our trusted colleagues in the legislature to finish the job.”
“By closing loopholes in many existing protections for women and demonstrating a commitment to equality, the bills signed today set the stage for further, future reforms,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “We look forward to working with the Governor and elected officials on the next steps toward achieving women's equality, including protecting women’s fundamental right to decide to end a pregnancy, ensuring access to reproductive health care, and allowing new mothers paid family leave to care for their children without facing debt or bankruptcy.”