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NOW president promotes Women's Equality Agenda

As the end of the state legislative session in Albany gets closer, one issue that hasn’t made many strides yet, for the second year in a row, is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed ten-point Women’s Equality Act, meant to end discrimination based on gender.

In a swing across Central New York today, Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, says it’s important that New York is be a leader by passing the agenda that ranges from health care to economic issues, because states are where women’s issues are languishing.

“At the state level, bad economic and bad health care policies that disproportionately hurt women, are passing. So New York state can be proactive and be a leader in doing something proactive and good for women, and then we can take that to other states,” said O'Neill.

The plan has stalled in Albany because of the Senate’s reluctance to pass legislation that includes one plank that would strengthen New York’s abortion laws, by bringing them in line with federal legislation. Supporters of the ten point-plan say they won’t separate the abortion point from the other proposals, that would toughen laws regarding things like sex trafficking and discrimination based on sex.

O’Neill says that is the right tactic.

“Let’s be clear, one in three women will have an abortion by the age of 45. It is a common, and necessary aspect of women’s reproductive health care, and to consider splitting that off is just -- I call that nothing short of gender bigotry.”  

Women’s organizations are targeting some lawmakers in the State Senate as they try to get the Women’s Equality Act passed. The Assembly has already approved the legislation.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.