In his 2013 State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared his enthusiastic support for a bill that would expand access to late-term abortion. New Yorkers for Life was birthed to challenge the Governor’s abortion expansion agenda, and, in so doing, to protect women and vulnerable unborn children.
Initially, New Yorkers for Life focused its efforts on blocking the passage of the abortion expansion bill known as the Reproductive Health Act (RHA). However, in an effort to pressure legislators into voting in favor of abortion expansion legislation, Gov. Cuomo and his allies drafted a modified abortion expansion bill and linked it to nine other proposals that affect women. The combined ten-point package was known as the Women’s Equality Act (WEA). The New York State Assembly passed the WEA by a wide margin in 2013.
The New York State Senate, on the other hand, passed the nine individual non-abortion-related parts of the WEA, but declined to bring the abortion expansion bill to a vote. On the final day of the 2013 legislative session, pro-abortion senators attempted a procedural maneuver that would have attached abortion expansion legislation to another bill; following intense lobbying efforts by New Yorkers for Life and its supporting organizations, this attempt failed by a razor-thin margin of 31-32.
On the first day of the 2015 legislative session, the State Senate again passed the non-abortion-related parts of the WEA, but declined to bring the abortion expansion bill to a vote. In a major pro-life victory, the Assembly then agreed to break up the ten-point package and passed all of the individual bills benefitting women. Until 2019, when the Senate turned to Democratic control, the Senate refused to vote on the abortion legislation.
In 2015 a new front emerged in the ongoing battle over the sanctity of human life: physician-assisted suicide. Legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide has been introduced in the New York State Legislature, and national organizations are involved in promoting it.
New Yorkers for Life is concerned about this proposal because of the media attention this issue is receiving, the well-funded support for so-called “death with dignity,” and the fact that neighboring states such as New Jersey have already enacted this policy. We believe the state should be providing terminally ill patients with more aid-in-living, rather than deadly so-called “aid-in-dying.”