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Cuomo To Propose Bill To Match Federal Law Allowing For Abortions After 24 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Move Would Bring New York Into Line With Federal Law
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (file / credit: Governor's Office)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (file / credit: Governor’s Office)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — An abortion battle could be brewing in Albany, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to propose a major change to abortion laws in New York State.

CBS 2 has learned that Cuomo will introduce a bill on Tuesday that would allow abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy to protect a woman’s health. The bill would fall in line with federal law.

Currently, New York State only allows late-term abortions if a woman’s life is at risk.

Planned Parenthood outlined a 2009 bill with reportedly similar goals. The 2009 Reproductive Health Act would “guarantee a woman can make her own personal, private health care decisions, especially when her health is endangered,” as well as treat abortion as a public health issue rather than a “potential crime,” and guarantee New Yorkers’ right to receive or refuse contraception as they see fit.

“Current New York law compounds that tragedy when it happens late in pregnancy by making it a potential crime to provide an abortion to protect her health,” Planned Parenthood said. “The Reproductive Health Act will ensure she can get the safe, legal abortion care she needs.”

The current law is not enforced, because it is superseded by federal rulings on late-term abortions, according to a New York Times report.

But Cuomo administrative officials told the newspaper in February that there is a concern that the U.S. Supreme Court could change the rules, leaving the older state restrictions on late-term abortions as the applicable law.

Republicans in the New York State Senate have slammed the proposal as an extreme measure from what they call the radical left.

Discussion and legislation on abortion has gone in the opposite direction, toward stronger restrictions on abortion rights, in many states recently.

Last year, Virginia Gov. Bob McConnell signed a bill that requires women to view an ultrasound before getting an abortion. That bill has drawn particular criticism for its requirement that some women undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound probe.

A similar law is also on the books in Texas, where a woman must undergo a sonogram and hear a doctor’s verbal description of what she is seeing – and even ask the patient if she wants to hear the fetal heartbeat – before an abortion can be performed.

An Illinois lawmaker proposed a similar bill last year that would have required a mother to view an ultrasound before getting an abortion in that state. But after that bill passed out of committee, Democrats added what proponents called “hostile amendments” that would have extended the ultrasound requirement to dozens of other medical procedures from cardiac to testicular operations, and that would have required men to undergo counseling before seeking treatment for erectile dysfunction.

The Illinois bill ultimately died before ever coming up for a vote when the state House of Representatives ended its session in January.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)