Cuomo: Amend New York’s Constitution To Protect Abortion Rights

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to amend the state constitution to codify abortion rights should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Addressing hundreds of abortion-rights supporters rallying in Albany, the Democrat said the state must ensure that legal access to abortion services and birth control continues regardless of the policies of President Donald Trump and Washington Republicans.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, at Monday’s ‘I Stand With Planned Parenthood’ rally, and day of action — the loudest battle cry in the room belonged to Cuomo.

“Let’s put it on the ballot, and let’s let the people decide, because this is still a democracy,” Cuomo said.

Trump says he plans to announce his first nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. Abortion-rights supporters say they worry the new court could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

An amendment would mean the protections of Roe v. Wade would remain in effect ever if the decision was overturned or altered by the Supreme Court.

“It is abundantly clear that President Trump cares little about infringing on women’s rights, denying us full healthcare and endangering our lives,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women New York. “It’s urgent that we fight back now and I am proud New York will lead the way in being a sanctuary for women.”

“This courageous and critical move sets an important example of how, in this current environment, states can take affirmative steps to advance women’s health and well-being,” said Andrea Miller, president of the National Institute for Reproductive Health.

New York statute legalized abortion three years before Roe. But Cuomo says a constitutional amendment is needed to ensure current abortion rights aren’t rolled back.

Not everyone was cheering about the announcement.

“Leading New Yorkers once again to lead the charge for a culture of death,” Chris Slattery, Director, Expectant Mother Care, said.

Slattery is the director of a series of pregnancy centers located around the city.

He said that while he homes Roe v. Wade will be overturned, he said one more anti-abortion justice might not be enough.

“The math isn’t there. We’re not gonna have a pro-life majority of 5 to 4, if this next justice is pro-life. We’re still one short, so the hysteria on the left is misplaced,” he said.

He’s referring to the Supreme Court’s ruling last June when it struck down Texas abortion restrictions.

“Today we’re at a 30 year low for unintended pregnancy in America, and we’re not going back,” Planned Parenthood, President, Cecile Richards said.

Constitutional amendments require two separate legislative votes before going to voters.

Regardless of who Trump’s nominee is, pro-choice advocates said they’ll continue to rally and step up efforts to protect women’s health care.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 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.)

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