Assembly Dems’ women caucus says Women’s Equality Act is all or nothing

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The female members of the Assembly’s Democratic conference say they’re staying committed to all 10 points of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Act, suggesting they would rather see the other nine points languish unless the Senate acts on a controversial abortion provision.

In an impromptu news conference Friday, the 30 female Democrats read a joint statement, accusing the Senate of trying to pass the blame. Senate Republicans have refused to bring a provision that would strengthen the state’s abortion laws to a vote, choosing instead to break Cuomo’s bill into 10 separate measures and bringing nine of them to the floor.

“It’s unimaginable that anyone could betray the women of this state by not demanding full equality and all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, Broome County.

The women later headed to the Capitol’s second floor, where they were set to meet with Cuomo, who this morning said it would be “absurd” for the Assembly to not approve the other nine points of his bill if the Senate continues to oppose the abortion measure. Meanwhile, the Senate has yet to enter its chamber Friday, the last day the Legislature is slated to be in Albany.

Shortly after the Democrats gathered in the Capitol’s pressroom, three female Republicans followed suit, attempting to counter their message.

Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt, R-Greenwood Lake, Orange County, suggested Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, is pushing for the women’s bill to distract from his role in the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal. Silver did not refer initial complaints against Lopez to the Assembly Ethics Committee for investigation last year.

Here’s video from the Democrats’ presser, followed by part of the GOP response:

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