An amendment that would have strengthened New York’s abortion laws was narrowly blocked Friday from being considered by the state Senate.
After months of debate and a pledge from Republicans to block a bill that would cement federal abortion rights in state law, Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, D-Bronx, attempted to force a vote by introducing the measure as a “hostile amendment” — an occasionally used by rarely successful procedural method that allows a bill to be changed as its being debated on the floor.
Klein’s amendment was ruled germane by Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat who was presiding over the chamber. But Senate Deputy Republican Leader Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, appealed the decision, and 32 senators — the bare minimum needed — voted it non-germane.
UPDATE: The vote was largely along party lines, save two Democrats who voted against the amendment: Sens. Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, a pro-life minister, and Simcha Felder of Queens, who sits with the Republicans.
The four-member Independent Democratic Conference, led by Klein, shares control of the Senate with Republicans. Women’s groups and Assembly Democrats had put increasing pressure on Klein to bring the abortion bill to the floor for a vote, but Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, remained steadfast in blocking it.
The provision was part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point Women’s Equality Act, which was passed by the Assembly Friday. The female members of the Assembly Democratic conference suggested Friday they would only support the bill if all 10 points are passed by the Senate.