After the contentious months-long battle over a bill to strengthen New York’s abortion laws, a key pro-choice group has diverged from the 850-member women’s coalition that crafted the legislation.
NARAL Pro-Choice New York left the Women’s Equality Coalition after the groups disagreed on how to push the abortion issue. While supporters of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point Women’s Equality Act contended from the start that they wouldn’t accept the package without the abortion measure, the governor and the coalition relented as session came to a close.
In addition to the abortion piece, the package included measures to fight pay inequity, sex trafficking and discrimination against pregnant women and mothers in employment and housing.
“While NARAL Pro-Choice New York supports all of the elements of that agenda, recent developments made it clear that as choice advocates in New York, we have an obligation to mount a dedicated campaign to stem the rollback of reproductive rights nationwide, starting in New York,” President Andrea Miller said in a statement Thursday.
“We are proud of the work we did together to make such tremendous progress on the Women’s Equality Agenda during the legislative session, and we wish our sisters in the coalition all the best as they pursue worthy legislative goals,” she continued. “But, given how the Senate failed us, we need to focus now on the real and growing threat to choice all across the country.”
In the last days of session, the state Assembly passed the full 10-point package. The Senate passed the nine points separately, with Republicans balking at the abortion measure. Supporters said the bill would simply codify Roe v. Wade into state law, while opponents, particularly conservatives and the Catholic Church, called it a radical expansion of the procedure.
Cuomo and the coalition urged the Assembly to return to Albany to pass the nine separate points rather than let them die with the controversial abortion bill. NARAL disagreed, pushing instead for all or nothing.
The coalition released a statement Thursday responding to NARAL’s departure, stressing their commitment to all points of the women’s agenda.
“The 850 organizations and businesses that are part of the Women’s Equality Coalition continue the work to pass all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act, all of which are essential to creating a society where women are equal,” the groups said. “We will continue to work with NARAL Pro-Choice NY to overcome the obstruction in the Senate and pass the provision that aligns New York law with the protections of Roe v. Wade.”
The Chiaroscuro Foundation, a pro-life group that aggressively fought the abortion measure during session, said in a statement Friday that NARAL has shown its “true radical colors” as an organization that cares about abortion, not women.
“The vast majority of Americans find late-term abortions morally abhorrent, yet NARAL wants to push abortion to the point of infanticide in the name of women’s rights—it’s insanity,” President Greg Pfundstein said in the statement. “NARAL has made one thing crystal clear by walking away from the Women’s Equality coalition in New York: It’s acting as a trade association for the American abortion industry; it doesn’t give a hoot about women’s rights.”