Feminists Choosing Life, a group of women who oppose abortion, will launch two billboards featuring images of a fetus and of a woman in the fetal position, painting both as victims of abortion.
The group points to 2008 statistics that show New York tops the country in volume of abortions: 33 percent of pregnancies in the state — and 40 percent in New York City — end in abortion.
“New York’s abortion rate is already too high,” Michele Sterlace-Accorsi, an attorney and spokeswoman for the group’s lobbying arm, said in a statement Wednesday. “Not only is the abortion rate an embarrassment for our state, but is a clear reflection that New York is not providing women with the resources they need to carry their pregnancies to term.”
The billboards, on the Thruway and I-787 South, aim to protest the Women’s Equality Act, a priority package for Cuomo that includes 10 measures affecting women. Abortion opponents want the governor to separate a bill that would codify federal abortion rights in state law from other pieces, which would fight against sex trafficking, pregnancy discrimination and pay inequity.
Supports of the abortion piece argue that the bill would not expand access to abortion in New York. It would simply guarantee New York women the abortion rights they already have should the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturn the landmark case Roe v. Wade, advocates said.
“By refusing to separate the abortion expansion component from his (Women’s Equality Act), Governor Cuomo is holding other needed benefits for women within the plan hostage to his abortion agenda, making both mothers and their children victims,” Sterlace-Accorsi said in a statement. “It means more dead. More wounded.”
A coalition of groups supporting the women’s agenda, including the abortion measure, have launched a series of events around the state in recent weeks to garner support.
The groups rallied in Binghamton Tuesday with local Southern Tier Advocates. Sharon Chesna, executive director of the Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network of South Central New York, argued in a statement that the agenda would improve the health of women and children.
“It has been recognized in the US and growing internationally that women’s health across the life force is essential for improving pregnancy and birth outcomes and reducing maternal and infant death,” Chesna said Tuesday.
“All of the key points of the Women’s Equality Agenda align with the life force philosophy. This means that women need to be safe in their homes, have equality and safety in their work place, economic stability and access to health care,” she continued.