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NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Pledges to Put Abortion Rights in State Constitution

Jan. 31, 2017

If voters decide they want to lock in a law

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a ballot amendment that would codify abortion rights into the state constitution, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Cuomo, who announced his plan at a rally supporting Planned Parenthood in Albany, said he wanted to give New Yorkers the right to vote on whether the state should lock in protections that currently give women the right to abortions, including throughout all stages of pregnancy if there’s a risk to the mother’s health. “Let the people decide because this is still a democracy and New Yorkers want to protect a woman’s right to choose,” Cuomo said, according to the Journal.

The governor’s proposal, which hasn’t been drafted yet, would need to be approved by two consecutive legislatures before making its way on a ballot, meaning that the proposal couldn’t be law for at least several years. According to the Journal, similar proposals have failed in the New York State legislature in the past. But Cuomo’s plan comes at a precarious time for abortion rights in the country: President Donald Trump has already promised to nominate an anti-abortion Supreme Court justice.

It’s not the first time New York has taken action to protect rights at a state level. The New York attorney general recently proposed a bill to keep birth control free even if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act, which currently mandates insurers provide government-approved contraceptives at no cost.

[The Wall Street Journal]