ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A new coalition lobbying for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's women's rights agenda said it supports his decision to link popular measures against workplace discrimination and human trafficking with a hotly debated abortion measure.
It's a political gamble that faces strong opposition among Senate Republicans.
The Senate GOP supports workplace protections and tougher prostitution laws, which would help them with the important women's vote. But the Republican conference doesn't want to expand abortion rights, which is opposed by the influential state Conservative Party and the Catholic bishops.
"This is a 10-point package ... it's a whole package," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, part of the New York Womens' Equality Coalition.
"All 10 are equally important," said Christine Sadowski, executive director of the YWCA of Orange County and representing YWCAs statewide.
The exact content of Cuomo's abortion measure is unclear. He hasn't released the text of the bill and appears to be recasting it in public comments.
Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos said on Monday that he believes Cuomo's measure would expand the law to allow abortions up to the last day of pregnancy, a view Cuomo says isn't true.
In a fiery State of the State passage in January, Cuomo called for passage of the Women's Reproductive Health Act which is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the minority leader.
Cuomo reached a crescendo in that speech when he promised to "Enact a Reproductive Health Act because it is her body, it is her choice. Because it's her body, it's her choice. Because it's her body, it's her choice."
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