ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino told evangelicals Tuesday that the political left wants to take away their freedoms and attacked Democratic incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo over abortion policy.
The Westchester County executive officially announced his campaign for governor this month and has focused largely on economic issues. But he touched on social issues in a speech during a meeting of the New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation near the state Capitol.
“Secularism and so-called progressivism know no bounds among the political left in New York anymore,” he said. “They want it all. They want to take away every one of your freedoms. We have to push back.”
He afterward cited the federal health care act’s mandates on religious organizations as an example.
Astorino, who has said he is anti-abortion, also criticized Cuomo’s proposal last year to strengthen the existing right for women to have abortions after six months of pregnancy when the fetus is viable outside the womb. He told the crowd Cuomo wants “more abortions later in pregnancies.”
Tracey Brooks, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York, accused Astorino of deliberately mischaracterizing a bill that would simply match state law with federal law, which governs current practice in New York.
“This is someone who doesn’t understand the issue,” Brooks said. “He certainly doesn’t understand what women and families need in the state of New York and is really out of his range looking to be a statewide official.”
There was no immediate comment from the state Democratic Party.
Cuomo enters the final year of his first term well ahead in polls, name recognition and fund raising. One recent poll shows Cuomo with support from nearly two-thirds of possible voters.
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