RHA Under Attack
The BPCLC's signature priority this year is the Reproductive Health Act, sponsored by caucus co-chair Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assemblymember Deborah Glick. The bill would modernize New York's outdated public health law, bringing reproductive health under the public health law and codifying the protections of Roe v. Wade in state law.
But now the bill is under attack -- it is one of a host of bills that the state Senate majority has put in "a very dark vault," as BPCLC member Senator Dan Squadron put it, speaking to reporters today. It was one of hundreds of bills pulled from their committees today by the Senate majority, taken off the timetable for committee consideration and a committee vote, and put into the Rules Committee, presumably to run out of the clock and prevent them from getting an up or down vote.
Members of the BPCLC come from both parties and every region of the state. It is a shame that the Senate's leadership have chosen to make this a partisan issue and take the Reproductive Health Act off track.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan also came to Albany this week to pressure legislators against the Reproductive Health Act, as well.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, originally a New Yorker, gave an impassioned speech on access to contraception and reproductive healthcare last week, and posed the question: if the U.S. Senate were 83 women and 17 men, and not the other way around, would a bill like the 'Blunt Amendment' even make it to the floor?