The state Senate Thursday adopted resolutions remembering the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation as well as the late Court of Appeals Judge Theodore Jones, who died Nov. 5—but there was at least one resolution left off the list.
During floor speeches by colleagues on former President Abraham Lincoln’s decision to free slaves in the U.S., Krueger said she was “disappointed” her resolution was not taken up. She drew connections between the fight for African-American civil rights and women’s rights.
“Again, this is a road to emancipation for us all in this country, and proudly, the state of New York recognized women’s rights to make their own decisions even earlier than Roe v. Wade,” Krueger said.
Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, who was presiding over the Senate, tried to interrupt Krueger, presumably to steer her back to the topic of emancipation.
“Like my colleagues just discussing Mr. Lincoln and emancipation, this state has a proud history and a proud future going forward—with some bumps in the road, it appears,” she finished.
(UPDATE) Shortly after, Krueger argued her point in a statement, referring to a recent poll that shows most New Yorkers support Roe v. Wade and would support a state law legalizing abortion.
She urged Senate Republicans to pass the Reproductive Health Act, which would codify women’s abortion rights. The measure has failed in the past, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo this session has included it in a broader women’s rights package, making it top legislative priority in his State of the State address Jan. 9.
“Huge majorities of New Yorkers are obviously ready for this discussion, and in fact support action to secure and expand women’s access to contraception and reproductive healthcare options,” she said in a statement.
“Every member of the Independent Democratic Conference is pro-choice and two IDC members signed on as cosponsors of the resolution,” she said. “The leaders of the Senate must join the rest of us in the 21st Century and allow this conversation.”
(UPDATE) Scott Reif, spokesman for Senate Republicans argued that the resolution did not meet Senate guidelines.
“The proposed resolution promotes a policy position, and therefore does not conform to established Senate guidelines for resolutions,” Reif said in a statement. “If a Republican member were to put forward a similar resolution that called for repeal of the new gun law or the statute allowing same sex marriage, it too would be ruled invalid and would be rejected. In fact, there are examples of Republican-sponsored resolutions that have been rejected for this purpose, proving that this policy is enforced consistently.”
Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, leader of the IDC, also explained in a statement that the resolution was ideological. But, he said every IDC member supports women’s abortion rights, but that’s not the case with every Democrat in the Senate.
“As pro-choice Democrats, we need to face the facts: there are not 32 pro-choice Democrats in the New York State Senate. This sad reality is directly attributable to the membership of the Senate Democratic Conference,” he continued.
Klein appears to be blasting Sens. Ruben Diaz of the Bronx and Timothy Kennedy of Buffalo, who are opposed to abortion.
“If you’re a real Democrat—a real New York Democrat—then you must defend a woman’s inherent right to choose … Moving forward, I believe it is no longer acceptable for Democrats to support Senate candidates who want to call themselves democrats—and pound their chests like democrats—while actively undermining a woman’s right to choose,” he said.
“Simply put, we need more Democratic votes in the State Senate in order to advance reproductive health legislation in New York. That’s the reality, with or without this resolution,” he finished.
(UPDATE) The state Assembly, led by Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, passed a resolution on Roe v. Wade later Thursday morning.
“Because every woman should be free to choose her destiny, we celebrate this anniversary,” Silver said in a statement. “May the wisdom of those who came before us guide my colleagues and I as we continue to fight for legislation that expands and protects the rights of New York’s women.”
(UPDATE) Here’s a letter that Krueger sent to Senate leaders, with the resolution attached: