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Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/25947183@N04/5728324248/">Ove Overmeyer</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Ove Overmeyer, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Abortion rights vote still possible for NYS, women's groups say

Women's groups say they have not given up on abortion rights bill passing in the final days of the session, now that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has introduced the Women's Equality Act as 10 separate bills.

Tracey Brooks, with Family Planning Advocates, says women's groups are asking Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos to bring the abortion rights measure to the floor as a standalone bill. Brooks says Skelos, pledged two years ago to allow what's known as a vote of conscience on social issues where Senators are divided.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

"We are holding him to that," said Brooks. "We are asking the Senator to allow his conference to vote their conscience."

The women's groups say they now have three days, before the bills are scheduled to be voted on Friday, to gain one or two yes votes from Republican Senators in order to pass the measure.

The abortion rights provision is sponsored by Senator Diane Savino, a member of the break away Democratic faction that rules the Senate along with the Republicans.

The ten individual bills also means that the other nine provisions could pass both houses and become law. Those include pay equity, paid maternity leave, and anti sexual harassment measures, among other things. But the women's groups say they still want all ten to pass, and they aren't backing down.

A spokeswoman for Senator Skelos says the GOP position opposing the abortion rights provision "has not changed."

"We expect to pass nine of the 10 elements of the Governor's women's equality agenda, however, we continue to oppose bringing the abortion provision to the floor," said spokeswoman Kelly Cummings, in a statement.

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