An abortion expansion proposal that would have lifted virtually all limitations on abortion was not included in the recently passed New York state budget bill.
“We’re very pleased that it came out of the budget,” said Edward Mechmann, director of public policy for the archdiocese, in an interview with CNY on April 6.
The budget bill for fiscal year 2019 passed March 31.
“We’re very happy that the Republican majority in the Senate held firm,” and “insisted that it come out of the budget. We’re really, really grateful for that,” Mechmann said.
The state budget bill was introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January. Law requires a budget to be passed by April 1, the date of the start of the new fiscal year.
“The issue doesn’t go away, just because it’s not in the budget,” Mechmann said. “The governor, in his post-budget press conference, said that he was still going to push for abortion rights.
“So, it’s still a live issue—and, with the control of the Senate being also a live issue right now, we’re not out of the woods yet.”
As the legislative session moves forward, people “have to be very vigilant about the possibility of hearings happening and the need to stay in touch with our legislators, especially the ones in the key districts,” Mechmann said.
A similar bill, he said, the Reproductive Health Act, had already been introduced in the assembly and the Senate and was passed in the Assembly earlier this year. It is still pending in the Senate.
“It could happen at anytime,” Mechmann said, “but we’re expecting the real crunch time to be in June.” The legislative session ends in late June.
—Christie L. Chicoine