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Assembly Democrats Must Protect Women's Rights

Assembly Democrats Must Protect Women's Rights

Majority Can’t Fail Our Wives, Mothers, Daughters & Sisters Again

An Op-Ed by Assemblyman Brian Curran

The Women’s Equality Act continues to unfortunately be a hotly contested piece of legislation.  The time to come together and deliver legislation that helps New York’s women is now!  This year’s legislative session is ending; Albany must act or it will let all women in New York State down again.


I wrote a similar Op-Ed several months ago.  Both the State Senate and Assembly agree on nine points of the Women’s Equality Agenda.  Let’s pass them!


Pay equity, ending sexual harassment, prohibiting housing discrimination and protecting women from abuse are all principles we all can agree upon.  In fact, legislation on each of these subjects has passed the State Senate thanks to Senator Dean Skelos…and a bipartisan group of legislators has joined me in proposing and calling for passage of these issues as individual bills in the Assembly.


So why can’t the Assembly pass these good bills aimed at enhancing Women’s Equality?  Why does it remain in limbo?


New York State ranks among the top states in the nation for number of abortions performed.  In our region, a striking 41 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, equating to roughly 87,000 abortions per year.  There is no lack of access to abortion here in our state.


Then why do the Assembly Democrats continue to hold up so many good measures for a 10th plank that they claim simply “codifies” federal law?  They need to stop holding the Women’s Equality Act hostage.  It’s incorrigible that with each passing day, they hold back the bipartisan nine point Women’s Equality Act.


That’s why I support Assembly Minority members’ efforts on making the 10th piece of the Women’s Equality Agenda about providing women with safe care in a health facility and ensuring it has been inspected by the Department of Health.


Earlier this year it was revealed that of the 25 abortion-providing clinics directly overseen by the State Health Department, only 17 were inspected, and only 45 routine inspections were conducted over more than a decade, from 2000 to 2012.  Eight of the facilities went through the entire 12-month period without a single visit.  Whether pro-choice or pro-life, we can all agree that the health and safety of women is paramount and that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.


Assemblywomen Jane Corwin , Nicole Malliotakis and Claudia Tenney, three of my colleagues, have introduced legislation that deals with this critical concern for women’s health—a real women’s health issue that could potentially mean life or death for a young woman visiting one of these clinics.


Assembly Bill 9538 will set a regular schedule for inspections of abortion clinics by the New York State Department of Health, directs its commissioner to disseminate rules and standards by which abortion clinics must be evaluated, and directs the commissioner to create a report on the results of the inspections and submit that report to the Assembly, the Senate and the governor.


Instead of making women political pawns for the second year in a row, we should deliver them the equality they deserve.  Why are the Assembly Democrat Majority waiting for?  A true women’s equality agenda is about doing what’s right for women.  It isn’t about riling up your base or putting the opposition party on the record with a vote on legislation that is clearly going nowhere.


I strongly urge my Assembly Democrat colleagues to do what’s right and bring up the Women’s Equality Agenda for a vote in a way that works for everyone.  Each point can stand alone on its own merits.  A 10-point agenda that includes regulation and inspection of women’s health centers would deliver meaningful results for New York’s women.  Let’s stop playing politics and start protecting New York’s women.

Assemblyman Brian Curran (21st AD - Lynbrook) is currently serving his second term in the New York State Assembly.  The 21st Assembly District covers the communities of Baldwin, Lynbrook, Malverne, Rockville Centre, South Hempstead as well as portions of Hewlett, East Rockaway, Franklin Square, Freeport, Oceanside and West Hempstead.

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