Pass equality amendment now


To the editor:

(re: “Your voice is most important right now,” May 26)

Your recent editorial completely ignores the state legislature’s passage of the Reproductive Health Act in 2019 on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

The editorial states that “the future of abortion in New York will almost assuredly lie with Albany. State lawmakers will be compelled to respond to the ruling, and could put in place laws codifying the original Roe ruling, dismantle legalization, or possibly finding some space in between.”

In fact, the act codified Roe in New York to protect abortion access, expanded abortion rights, and decriminalized abortion. Prior to the passage of the act, New York law banned third-trimester abortions, except when necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman, recognized licensed physicians as the only medical providers able to perform abortions, and included abortion as part of the penal law.

The act legalizes all abortions up to 24 weeks of gestation, and legalizes abortion beyond 24 weeks if the woman’s health or life is at risk, or if the fetus is not viable.

The act also permits physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and licensed midwives to lawfully provide abortion services if they have the appropriate qualifications.

Your editorial urges your readers to contact their state representatives concerning abortion. Presumably, our neighbors have expressed their views for the three-and-a-half years since the passage of the act, and of course, they should continue to do so. What is most important right now, though, is for New Yorkers to urge Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to enact state Sen. Liz Krueger’s equality amendment to the state constitution, which would comprehensively combat all forms of discrimination.

The amendment provides that no person shall be denied equal rights based on that person’s race, color, ethnicity, national origin, disability, or sex, including pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Although several versions of the amendment were introduced in the Assembly, none of them is identical to Sen. Krueger’s legislation. It is critical that constituents email Assemblyman Dinowitz at dinowitz@nyassembly.gov, and Speaker Heastie at speaker@nyassembly.gov to ask them to enact Sen. Krueger’s equality amendment before the legislative session ends June 2.

Sue Ellen Dodell

Dale Wolff