ALBANY, N.Y. — The Democratic governor of New York is calling for lawmakers to pass a bill enshrining abortion as a right in the state Constitution in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturns Roe v. Wade.
“As they threaten this nation with a potential Supreme Court nomination that will reverse Roe v. Wade, I want them to know today: If that’s what they do, we’re going to protect Roe v. Wade in the state of New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared at a “I Stand With Planned Parenthood” rally on Monday.
“I propose today a constitutional amendment to write Roe v. Wade in to the New York State Constitution so that nobody can change it—no Supreme Court nominee [can undo it],” he proclaimed to cheers and applause. “We will not allow the progress of the women’s movement to be stopped, and we must seize this opportunity to bring the state and the nation forward and stand up for women’s health.”
Cuomo had been introduced by Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood.
“Let’s put it out on the ballot and let the people decide,” he said. “New Yorkers want to protect a woman’s right to choose.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were 119,940 abortions in New York in 2014, the latest statistics on file. There are 218 facilities in the state that provide abortions.
“Abortions in New York represent 12.9% of all abortions in the United States,” it outlines.
Figures released last month from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also show that there were 69,840 abortions in New York City alone, as compared to 116,777 registered births—equating to abortion being 60 percent of the birth rate.
New York legalized abortion in 1970, and only allows late-term abortion in instances when the woman’s life is deemed to be in danger.
Amendments to the state Constitution can only be made by passage in the legislature for two consecutive years, along with statewide approval by voters. Therefore, the earliest such a proposal could be passed is in 2019.
It is unclear if the Cuomo plans to defy the U.S. Supreme Court by pointing to the state Constitution should it be declared that the unborn are persons, and that none have a right to kill an unborn child. Many had said during the trial of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore that the marriage amendment enshrined in the Alabama Constitution was automatically voided due to the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.
As previously reported, the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade centered on a Texas woman named Norma McCorvey who sought an abortion over an alleged rape. McCorvey later admitted that she had lied, writing in her book “I Am Roe” that she made up the rape story at the advice of her feminist attorneys to make her case more convincing.
She also never obtained an abortion, but placed her child up for adoption and went on to become a vocal pro-life advocate, even going to court in an effort to overturn the ruling.
“My decisions were wrong and I am fighting with every breath to change what has occurred,” McCorvey, a Roman Catholic, said in 2008.