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April 27, 2013

Cuomo's abortion bid stirs debate


Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, said he sees no current threats to New York laws governing reproductive rights, and questioned whether existing state statutes need to be amended or broadened.

“I really don’t see any need to rush into this legislation,” Seward said of Cuomo’s call for strengthened abortion laws. “But I have said to all groups that have come in, pro and con, that if this legislation ever reaches the Senate floor, I am going to review it, and I am going to delve into it.”

Seward, echoing comments that have been made by GOP leaders, said he expects to be supportive of several “women’s equality” measures outlined by Cuomo. He contended would fare better if the governor simply spliced the abortion measure out of the package.

The senator said existing bills dealing with an expansion of abortion rights that are being pushed by Democratic senators have been rendered “kind of irrelevant” since Cuomo has signaled he wants to be the author of the omnibus measure.

“We had this impassioned pleas from the governor in January, and now, four months later, we haven’t seen a bill,” Seward said.

Deb Marcus, chief executive officer of Family Planning of South Central New York, said she strongly supports Cuomo’s agenda for retooling the abortion statutes, noting they were codified in the early 1970s, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision, Roe v. Wade.

“Abortion is a safe, legal medical procedure that should be governed by the public health law, like every other procedure,” Marcus said. “Clearly, this is not an extreme idea. It’s a technical fix. We are 40 years from where we were in 1972. It doesn’t make sense in 2013 to have abortion procedures in our criminal law.”

She also said the update is needed because of concerns that the Supreme Court could reverse itself on Roe v. Wade.

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