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State Senate leader: NYers would have access to abortion if Roe v Wade overturned

Matt Ryan
New York Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to pass an amendment enshrining the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 abortion decision Roe v. Wade into the state’s constitution is not gaining much traction in the state Senate.

Cuomo announced his plan at a Planned Parenthood rally but has so far offered no details. An effort to pass a law codifying the rights in Roe v. Wade has stalled in the Senate for years.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, who leads the Senate with a group of independent Democrats, said he hasn’t seen the newest proposals, so can’t directly comment. But he said he’s not worried about the landmark decision being overturned by President Donald Trump’s picks for the Supreme Court.

“I don’t really see things changing in the state of New York,” Flanagan said in an interview with New York state public radio and television.

Flanagan said New York legalized abortion three years before Roe v. Wade, and that law would still stand.

“There’s access, there’s safeguards,” said Flanagan. “And all of those things, regardless of what one might think of abortion, or access to it, those are things I think are very important.”

Abortion rights supporters say the 1970 New York law offers fewer protections than Roe. For example, after 24 weeks, abortion would be permitted only to save the life of the mother; the woman’s health considerations would not be taken into account.

Flanagan said previous bills on abortion from the governor are “more radical” than Cuomo has let on.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.