Move to include abortion rights in NY constitution decried

The New York State Catholic Conference has issued a quick rebuke to a resolution seeking to include abortion rights in the state constitution.

During a special legislative session July 1, state lawmakers passed a constitutional amendment that would increase protections for legalized abortions. The measure, which is strongly backed by Gov. Kathy Hochul, was approved 49-14 by the Senate and 98-43 by the Assembly. It will become state law if it passes in a second legislative session and is subsequently approved by voters.

Amendment is reaction to overturn of Roe v. Wade

The resolution, known as the Equal Rights Amendment, seeks to prevent government discrimination against abortions based on a person’s “ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, and sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive healthcare and autonomy,” according to a statement from Hochul’s office. The statement added that these measures are designed to be added “to existing protections that currently cover discrimination based on race, color, religion or creed.”

Hochul’s statement noted that the Equal Rights Amendment is designed to further solidify abortion rights in the state constitution, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling that now outlaws federal abortion rights. The court’s 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, putting decision-making about legalized abortion back in the hands of individual states. Abortion has been legal in New York state since 1970.

Conference calls amendment continuation of false, misleading narratives

But Kristen Curran, the state Catholic conference’s director of government relations, decried the Equal Rights Amendment as a continuation of false and misleading narratives by state lawmakers regarding abortion.

“Unfortunately, this bill solidifies the message that New York has been sending women for some time now: Abortion is positive, empowering, and the key to success. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” Curran said in a statement July 1, the same day the Equal Rights Amendment was passed. “Women, children, and their families deserve support and compassion. Baby formula is scarce, raising a family is unaffordable, and the fallout from the pandemic continues to take its toll. New York State should be pouring resources into helping women and families, not promoting abortion through limitless funding, advertisements, and splashy legislation.”

“Our elected officials should stop promoting abortion as a woman’s best and only choice,” Curran added, “and focus instead on true support for women, children, and families.”

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